The reigning queen of Beale Street will be recognized this Friday with a brass note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame. Barbara Blue has been at it for a while now, releasing 11 albums throughout the course of her career, in addition to playing on Beale Street five nights a week. Blue will join Elvis, Robert Johnson, and Justin Timberlake (along with many others) on the walk of fame, and to celebrate she will be officially releasing her latest album, Sweet, Strong, and Tight.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Blue visited Memphis in 1997 and paid $5 to sing with the famous dueling pianists at Silky O'Sullivans. Silky liked what he heard so much that he hired Blue on the spot, and she became a regular performer weeks after. Eighteen years later, Blue can still be found at Silky's, playing original songs that are influenced by female vocalists ranging from Janis Joplin to Etta James.
Produced by Boo Mitchell, Sweet, Strong, and Tight is a collection of 13 tracks that definitely prove Blue belongs on the Walk of Fame. The Beale Street performer has claimed to know more than 3,000 songs, but she picked some of her best for her latest album, and tracks like "Rudy's Blues," "Rolling up on Me," and "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" definitely capture the essence of what it means to be a legendary Beale Street performer. On the title track "Sweet, Strong, and Tight," Blue claims to be the cure for a strong hangover, something she's probably witnessed first-hand when dealing with the Silky's crowd on a Sunday morning.
With Blue performing two shows Friday night and all the Blues Hall of Fame events happening this weekend, it's a good time to have the blues in Memphis.