Queen Esther | Talkin' Fishbowl Blues

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Rock: Americana Blues: Electric Blues Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Talkin' Fishbowl Blues

by Queen Esther

If Keith fired Mick and decided to let Tina Turner front the band with Gram Parsons riding shotgun, they would sound a lot like Queen Esther.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Promise Me
3:43 $0.99
2. Shine
3:19 $0.99
3. Talkin' Fishbowl Blues
3:34 $0.99
4. Taster's Choice
4:13 $0.99
5. Love
3:58 $0.99
6. So Real
4:27 $0.99
7. New York City
3:27 $0.99
8. Leave Me Alone
4:12 $0.99
9. Get It Right This Time
4:04 $0.99
10. The Way of the World
4:01 $0.99
11. Help Me
3:20 $0.99
12. Stand By Your Man
3:01 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
\"This album has some of the catchiest songs on one record that I’ve heard in a long, long time. Queen Esther combines the grittiness of Rolling Stones take on blues/rock, silky-smooth black-gospel harmonies with pop-sensibilities that makes you sit up and take notice.”
— Ear Candy

\" \'Leave Me Alone\' has an attitude with its commanding instrumentation and potent vocals. Hidden in the midst of the track is an almost country twang jam suffused in the blues.\"
— Kweevak.com

“There’s a decidedly Stones-y swagger to many of these tunes with just a touch of twang, and Queen Esther shows herself to be as versatile a vocalist as Tina (Turner), covering not only the lead vocals but nearly all the background vocals as well. She\'s got a great voice (4 octave range) and maybe its her theater background but all her vocals (even the backing vox) are filled with passion and brimming with personality. Queen Esther writes about what she knows: mostly being a young woman transplanted to New York City and relationships, but she’s a keen observer and turns some great phrases throughout. The band is Rock and Roll basics: guitars, bass and drums--and more guitars, and they play with just the right mixture of being together but playing loose. Jack Sprat’s production is crisp but not glossy and there’s a freshness to the performances that implies they didn’t play these songs to death hoping for the “perfect” take... You’ll have to set your preconceptions aside for this one. Queen Esther is active in the theater and performance art worlds, sings the blues, sings jazz with the JC Hopkins Biggish Band and now has offered up a great Rock and Roll album. Is there anything this woman can’t do?” (4 out of 5 stars)
— All Music Guide

“A quick glance of the cover could confuse this release with Meshell Ndegeocello’s Comfort Woman. Not really a blues album, yet aptly tagged as “Black Americana,’ Manhattan-via-Austin super-side-woman Esther melds roots, pop and R & B in a way Lucinda Williams, Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow never could on their best days. “Shine” rocks akin to Exile-era Stones, ‘Love’ and ‘The Way of the World’ ooze BB King sufferage via classic Philly soul grooves, ‘New York City’ simmers with raucous urban funk riffage and ‘Get It Right This Time’ floats neo-psychedelic overtones on a greasy backbeat to kill for. Who\'s your mommy?”
— Amplifier

\"(Queen Esther’s) first full-length album shows that her own preferences run toward traditions that have somewhat lacked for an African-American presence of late. She calls her music “Black Americana”and makes it stick with a clutch of tastefully tuneful tracks that dabble in bluesy soul, pop, funk and country. Her cover of “Stand By Your Man” strips the song down to a weary woman’s blues without losing it’s twang. Highlights include “Shine” a bit of catchy swaggering rock, the aching lap-steel driven “Taster\'s Choice” and the a capella “Help Me.” The album is an implicit statement of it\'s own – that however you slice up American roots music, those roots come in several shades.”
— No Depression

Queen Esther\'s unique sound -- Black Americana -- is a hybrid of the music that raised her: 70\'s country blues-rock, sanctified gospel and old timey twang.

Queen Esther stepped out of her Low Country childhood and took her classically trained four octave range from a performing arts high school in Atlanta, GA to Austin, TX quickly becoming a local/regional favorite as a vocalist and performer/entertainer on the alternative theater scene and as a member of RoTel and the Hot Tomatoes. After relocating to Harlem, her work as a vocalist, lyricist/writer, songwriter and actor/solo performer led to creative collaborations in neo-vaudeville, alternative theater, various alt-rock configurations, (neo) swing bands, trip hop DJs, spoken word performances, jazz combos, jam bands, various blues configurations, original Off Broadway plays and musicals, experimental music/art noise and performance art.

As Queen Esther\'s distinct sound -- Black Americana -- began to emerge through performing and recording her ideas, she also formed creative collaborations with guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Elliot Sharp (their critically acclaimed effort \"Mighty\" on the now defunct Homestead Records is available as a German import) and jazz guitar icon James \"Blood\" Ulmer, performing throughout Europe and Scandanavia. Her featured vocals on his recent release \"No Escape From The Blues\" (Hyena), produced by Vernon Reid (Living Colour), garnered national/international critical praise while earning a spot in Rolling Stone\'s pick of The Best 50 CDs of 2003. On their latest effort, \"Blues & Grass: The 52nd Street Blues Project\" (Chesky) a black folk oddysey produced by and featuring Mr. Ulmer, Queen Esther writes several songs and performs alongside Charles Burnham, Mark Petersen and Aubrey Dale.

Queen Esther also sings regularly in New York City with composer/pianist JC Hopkins\' Biggish Band \"Champagne Fountain of Joy\", a thirteen piece line-up of celebrated New York City musicians (Patience Higgins, James Zollar, Vincent Chancey) and guest vocalists (Madelene Peroux, Norah Jones, Syd Straw) that features original swing tunes and hard bop. Their debut CD \"Underneath A Brooklyn Moon\" is to be released in January on Tigerlily Records.

Armed with her own songs and a diverse array of seasoned musicians (Marvyn Sewell/Cassandra Wilson, Sebastian Steinberg/Soul Coughing, Kelvyn Bell/Defunkt, Booker King/Sandra St. Victor, Boo Reiners/Demolition String Band), Queen Esther started her own label and released \"Talkin\' Fishbowl Blues\" (EL Recordings), her full-length debut CD of Black Americana. Rooted in her Southern upbringing, infused by her Texas experiences and nurtured on the world famous stages and venues in New York City, Queen Esther is poised to bring a new sound to the world.



to write a review

Eric Wrisley

Attention All Divas: Step Aside
Queen Esther has been around the block a time or two, collaborating with big names in Swing, Jazz, and Blues. On her first solo effort, Talkin' Fishbowl Blues, she turns in top-notch performances on song after song, with a voice that is at once both contemporary and timeless. There's a confidence in her delivery that stands up to Jack Sprat's ragged guitar, which defines a lot of the disc. The flip side of it is that as sexy and seductive as she can be, there's also a sort of homey comfort in Esther's voice, and that's not something you find everywhere. (Read the rest at blueswax.com)


Great record with lots of depth
Forget the labels; all you need to know is that this record rocks, grooves, and twangs and sounds genuine all the way through. The singing and songwriting are first rate, and while the arrangements aren't as strong they're good enough to let the talent shine through.


My mom loved this CD - I sent it to her for her Birthday!
My mom loves this CD - I sent it to her for her Birthday!


The genuine article
Just as Howlin' Wolf would have said. This is the real thing, folks. Strong medicine.

Massimo Ferro, DJ (Highway 61, Italy)

True Black Americana
To call "Talkin' Fishbowl Blues" as "Black Americana" was undoubtedly a true genius idea because I think it is the best way to describe what everyone can listen to on that album -- that is, a very original and seductive blend of the styles that made great Afro-American music, from jazz to soul and from blues to funk. This is therefore definitely an absolute winner and a stunning debut, with great songs and vocal performances, and it is a pleasure to play it in my radio show of American roots based music here.

rob mclane

funky and sweet
I discovered this CD by chance along a string on allmusic.com. Wow! Music this funky and sweet and personal is very hard to find. I like that it's a little bit rough around the edges. That makes it so real. I agree with the Joan Armatrading comparison. Bring it on Esther. We want some more of your stuff.

Jeffrey Adair

Fine CD
"Black Americana"? While there is, indeed, a dash of blues,
country, gospel & such flavoring the music, I'd still describe
it as a rock album, but a damn fine one. While the excellent songs & superior vocals are what's most important, the production and instrumentation are also mightily impressive.
I'm going to be playing this a lot.

Laura T Lynch of Kweevak.com

Dynamic !
Queen Esther is a classically trained vocalist who can sing in four octaves. Talkin' Fishbowl Blues is her debut release on her own label. This multi-range vocalist has surrounded herself with seasoned musicians and the end result is diverse and dynamic. Her sound has been described as "Black Americana" but it draws from a array of styles including the blues, country, gospel, soul and rock. This twelve track CD features all originals except for the closing song, which is a soulful cover of Tammy Wynette's 'Stand by Your Man'. The CD starts off strong with 'Promise Me'. Acoustic and electric guitars meld with funky bass lines that are spiked with plenty of percussion. Topping off this great instrumental groove is Queen Esther singing with passion and power. 'Shine' is the second song and showcases Queen Esther's high to low range layered over a deep, dramatic beat and shining guitar riffs. 'Leave Me Alone' has an attitude with its commanding instrumentation and potent vocals. Hidden in the midst of the track is an almost country twang jam suffused in the blues. Talkin' Fishbowl Blues is a royal pageant by the gifted Queen Esther and her court of talented musicians!

Roots Cafe

Black Americana, indeed.
Review Online at Roots café (in Dutch)

Queen Esther is, in the right sense of the word, a special case. Armed with a classically trained four octave reaching voice, this Atlanta, Georgia Black singer with a stop in Austin, Texas, leaves for New York where she expresses her singing and writing talent in almost any imaginable musical genre (from vaudeville to art noise) and collaboration. Fortunately, Talkin’ Fishbone Blues is not as divergent, but does have a slice of music styles she grew up with: jazz, blues, gospel, country and rock. This self-proclaimed queen gives us a treat of twelve excellent numbers, creating a great blend of her music background. Ten compositions are her own, each distinguished by an uncompromising and contemporary approach, with beautiful melody cords and irresistible rhythms. The CD starts with the contemporary ‘Promise Me’ which was given a delightful trip hop basis, and ends with a blue-eyed soul version of Tammy Wynette’s conservative “Stand by your Man.’ There you have the outline of the musical range in which she operates. In other words, Queen Esther offers a musical mixture labeled ‘Black Americana’ on the CD. There is, in my opinion, no better way to describe this music which, by the way, is also great dance music.

Roots Town Music Free-zine

Heir apparent to Joan Armatrading, if you ask me.
RootsTown Music Free-zine

If our (ME) dares to place a practically unknown cd on number 1 of the annual list, it must be a very special cd. That’s what happened with Talkin’ Fishbowl Blues and, as usual, (ME) was absolutely right. Because this cd is full of impressive songs and well suited to be played at full blast. That has every thing to do with the unmistakable Stones-sound that’s being used, but also with the amazing voice of Esther, who has not only proven herself as a singer, but has credentials in theater as well. What kind of music is this Black American playing, I can hear you asking and the answer is not so simple. Due to the Stones sound I (am pleased to) say rock and R & B. Because of the twang and themes I would consider americana to be correct. On her website you repeatedly find the phrase ‘black americana’ and I can agree with that, even for only the bits of triphop and gospel soul it contains. Esther is a fine composer (except for the very successfully done Stand by your man, she has written or co-written everything herself), but she particularly shines as a singer. She doesn’t venture on playing an instrument, but in her case it’s understandable: one who possesses such a set of vocal cords is destined to make that the main trademark. Having said this… the album contains twelve songs, and every one of them is very suitable for radio. The title song, Taster’s Choice, New York City, and The Way of the World are my personal favorites, though. I remain with a single question: Why can’t I find a reference to the great Joan Armatrading in any review? Because if you ask me, that’s what Queen Esther is: Joan’s heiress. You can already guess my advice: find out, fast!
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