Album Review: Working Girl's Guitar by Rosie Flores
Great, Based on 4 Critics
Exclaim - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Now into the fourth decade of her career, rockabilly/roots veteran Flores still has something to prove. In this case, it's to showcase her underrated skills as a guitarist, and this is the first album on which she plays all the lead and rhythm parts. Fittingly, this fine disc begins (the rousing title track) and ends (a sweet version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps") with axe-themed tunes.
In a better world, Rosie Flores would be a major star, given her estimable skills as a guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist, and the truth is there are plenty of roots rockers who have enjoyed more lucrative careers with far less to offer musically. But if Flores has had to settle for the life of a cult heroine and journeyman (journeyperson?) musician, she doesn't seem the least bit bitter about it, and the title cut of her album Working Girl's Guitar finds her proudly celebrating her life as a hard-working picker, as seen through the eyes of the well-used Telecaster copy pictured on the front cover. Flores picks up a storm all over Working Girl's Guitar, and though she's tasteful enough not to let her solos get in the way of her songs, when she feels like tearing up the fretboard, her chops are just as impressive as her melodic smarts, and she can strut her stuff on tunes that lean toward country ("Yeah, Yeah"), rock & roll ("I'm Little But I'm Loud"), surf ("Surf Demon #5"), vintage R&B ("If I Could Only Be with You"), or rockabilly ("Too Much") and sound equally at home and fully in command.
Rosie Flores named her album Working Girl’s Guitar. The conceit of the title song is that Flores sings it from the point of view of the musical instrument. But it’s clear that Flores is singing about herself as a “working girl” in both senses of the word. While she did not write the song, she expresses pride in her labor and artisanship.
There's more than a little serendipity to Janis Martin's last recordings, overseen by Rosie Flores, and said producer's latest LP both seeing the light of day nearly simultaneously. Flores revitalized the careers of both Wanda Jackson and Martin when they appeared on her 1995 album Rockabilly Filly, and she rightly takes great pride in the fact both rockabilly pioneers received well-deserved, latter-day recognition as a result. After more than 10 years of preparation, Martin recorded The Blanco Sessions in two days in 2007, then unexpectedly passed away four months later.