“Do yourself a favor”

Do yourself a favor and YouTube Shemekia Copeland’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.”

It’s a cover I discovered a few years ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it since. It’s a stripped down, bare-boned, almost lullaby of a cover.

Copeland has range, voice and taste. She moves gracefully from a sultry croon, to a blistering soul-shout. She’s a legit blues maven: Think Etta James, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown, Mavis Staples.

“Growing up, I loved women who had strong voices. I always said when I was growing up, ‘I want to sing like a man,’” she told me. “I was [drawn] to women who had strong voices — Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown. They had so much attitude.”

All three women are clear influences in Copeland’s power-belt and bluesy growl.

Lauren Daley interviewed Shemekia Copeland before her performance at the New Bedford Whaling Blues Festival, at Fort Tabor Park, in New Bedford, Massachussets this Saturday, August 13, for South Coast Today. In this piece called “Three-time Grammy nominee to rock Whaling Blues Festival,” Lauren Daley talks about Shemekia’s history, her influences and more.
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Here is the video mentioned by Lauden Daley…