Embattled husband-and-wife duo’s last independent-label recordings
Given Tina Turner’s claims about then-husband Ike’s abusive behavior, listening to this collection is downright chilling. When she sings Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” the pain and desperation in her voice are genuine. The ad-libbed vocal, “sock it to me, baby”—which she shrieks repeatedly toward song’s end—evokes violence both physical and sexual. The songs that comprise Sing The Blues (recorded by the Turners for indie label Blue Thumb in the late ’60s) are extremely telling: “Mean Old World,” “Five Long Years,” “I Smell Trouble,” Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me To Do’” (here called “You Got Me Running”). Ike’s reprehensible treatment of Tina—echoed in the subject matter of these songs—frequently overshadowed his contributions as a rock ’n’ roll innovator and first-rate bandleader. But Tina’s instantly identifiable voice (slightly nasal, with a powerful, cutting urgency) was the perfect musical companion for his inspired guitar work, mirroring the sharp-toned licks he yanked from his six-string on this pre-crossover material. The embattled couple’s tragic yet potent dynamic is at full-tilt on Sing, their raw, chitlin’-circuit-style blues even more affecting than the danceable pop and soul that made them famous.
Sample tracks from Ike And Tina Turner's Sing the Blues at the Acrobat Records site.