Bettye Swann: "Bettye Swann"

"If Bettye Swann is remembered by anyone other than soul obsessives, it is for her chart-topping hit "Make Me Yours" from 1967. Hopefully, this collection will open a few ears to the low-key, genre-bending singer who blended the full-bodied gritty sound of Southern soul and the smooth sheen of soul from the urban North. It covers the years 1968 to 1970, after she left Money Records and set up shop with Capitol and producer Wayne Shuler. The union did not provide any hits, but the body of work is quite impressive. Swann was equally adept at slinky, sassy uptown soul like "(My Heart Is) Closed for the Season," "Cover Me," and "You're Up to Your Old Tricks Again" as well as down-home, heartbroken ballads like "Little Things Mean a Lot," the bluesy "Don't Touch Me," and Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine," but also unique blends of styles like her Baroque soul take on the Bee Gees' "Words" and her countrified funk version of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't It Peculiar."
~ www.allmusic.com

Liz Mandeville: "Red Top"
"If you think of modern day blues-rockers, a "swing" approach is usually not in the mix -- just your standard 12-bar blues. But Liz Mandeville's 2008 release, Red Top, shows that the singer/guitarist is dedicated to merging both old-time styles together. Playing on a rather un-bluesy six-string (an Ibanez -- which is usually reserved for heavy metal speed demons), Mandevillle also throws a full horn section into the mix, resulting in some of the more full-sounding blues-rock of recent times. Examples include the album-opening title track (which is also arguably the album's best track), "My Baby's Her Baby Too" (which features some pretty darn impressive Albert King-esque lead work), and the simply blaring "Guilty of Rockin' All Night." Liz Mandeville may be one of the few female blues-rockers of the early 21st century, but Red Top easily measures up to the rest of the pack."
~ www.allmusic.com