On the cover of Tracy Nelson’s first album, she’s posing on a stoop in a leather jacket with a guitar case almost as big as she is. She looks like she’s about sixteen. Over the years, she hasn’t gotten any taller, but she has created a legacy of great music and powerful singing. That’s the thing, her voice in relation to her size is just like that case, it’s huge. And it’s always been huge. You don’t build or train or create a voice like that, you’re born with it. She hits a note and it vibrates physically and emotionally and stops you in your tracks. The only equivalent I can think of is Brenda Lee, another huge voice.
She went to Chicago for that first album, which, way back then, featured Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica. She went out to San Francisco and formed a great band, Mother Earth, that was R & B, Blues, and Country and ended up in Nashville, at a time when there weren’t many women there who didn’t have hair a couple of feet tall, rather than long and straight.
Down So Low
Over the years, she’s recorded many albums and written and covered many great songs. She wrote the classic, Down So Low, which emerged straight from her old soul and set the standard for everything afterwards. She’s had a ton of great players in her bands, likes dogs and cats, went to Central High School in Madison, and is singing and making great music this very minute. She was in a notable trio with Irma Thomas and Marcia Ball and presently performs with the Blues Broads, driving people crazy wherever they play. She’s also supplying us with a steady stream of old gospel tunes on Facebook.
Wait, Wait, Wait
She’s one of the great ones. Always staying on track, singing her heart out, and making it count. She’s been right there all along.
I Feel So Good