- Released: March 1, 2008
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
- 1.The Darktown Strutters' Ball
- 2.Nobody Knows You When Your Down and Out
- 3.I'm Having a Good Time
- 5.My Handyman Ain't Handy No More
- 6.Amtrak Blues
- 7.Old Fashioned Love
- 8.Sweet Georgia Brown
- 9.A Good Man Is Hard to Find
- 10.I've Got a Mind to Ramble
There aren't many musicians who can claim to have honed their chops in the 1910s, recorded a string of stellar jazz sides from the '20s through the early '50s, then taken a 20-year hiatus before making a stunning comeback in the '70s. Alberta Hunter is one such musician. Following a long "retirement" from music, during which she worked as a nurse, Hunter returned with a vengeance, recording music that, as always, straddled blues, jazz, and pop modes. The difference was that Hunter's voice, with 80 years of living built into it, was now much grittier and textured.
Hunter's 1980 recording AMTRAK BLUES helped endear her to a whole new generation of fans. With crisp production by John Hammond and the help of a tight-knit combo, Hunter sounds as vital and spirited as ever. Her voice, recorded close-up and high in the mix, is deep and finely nuanced, and she displays her skill equally on classic blues ("Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"), and on sprightly, uptempo numbers ("I'm Having a Good Time"). Overall, AMTRAK BLUES may be one of Hunter's most important and enjoyable recordings, testifying to her astounding trajectory and her ever-impressive abilities as a performer.