Mary Lane: A Hidden Gem in the Blues Landscape

In an intriguing review by Jari Kolari for Blues News Magazine Finland, the storied career of blues sensation Mary Lane is brought to light, showcasing her incredible journey from the taverns of Arkansas to the vibrant stages of Chicago. The review, originally featured on Blues News Magazine‘s website, delves into Lane’s early days, her unique voice in the blues genre, and her collaborations with some of the most iconic figures in blues history.

Born in Clarendon, Arkansas, in 1935, Mary Lane’s venture into the world of blues was nothing short of remarkable. As a teenage girl, she had the rare opportunity to perform alongside legends such as Robert Nighthawk, Joe Hill Louis, James Cotton, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Junior Parker. This experience not only provided an incredible addition to her resume but also set the stage for her lifelong career in music.

The review highlights Mary Lane’s relocation to the North, where she aimed to further her career in the bustling blues scene of Chicago. Settling in the small town of Waukegan, north of Chicago, Lane teamed up with guitarist Morris Pejoe and released her first single under the stage name Little Mary in 1964. Despite her extensive career, Lane’s recordings are few, making each one a precious piece of blues history.

Kirk Whiting’s encouragement led to Lane’s significant recording in 1996 at Twist Turner’s House Of Sound studio, featuring a stellar lineup of musicians, including Johnny B. Moore and Robert Mell on guitars, Jeffery Labon on bass, Detroit Jr. on piano, and Michael Jackson on saxophone. The review praises Lane’s sensual and feminine Chicago blues vocals, Moore’s guitar brilliance, and the traditional Chicago-style ensemble play, underscoring the album’s authenticity and raw emotion.

“Leave Me Alone,” the standout track, showcases Lane’s vocal prowess and Moore’s guitar solos, highlighting the collaborative spirit of the blues community. The review also appreciates the honesty and rawness of the South Side style, despite its potential to polarize listeners.

In conclusion, Jari Kolari’s review for Blues News Magazine Finland offers a deep appreciation for Mary Lane’s contribution to the blues genre, her unique talent, and the rich history she shares with some of the greatest names in blues. Lane’s story is a testament to the enduring power of blues music and its ability to resonate across generations. For those interested in exploring the depth of the blues genre, Mary Lane’s music is a must-listen, offering a blend of tradition, innovation, and soulful expression.