Before there was Tina Turner, there was Ike & Tina.
Thanks in large part to the 1993 film, What's Love Got To Do With It? — based on I, Tina, her 1986 autobiography — Tina's tumultuous relationship with Ike Turner, including details of the abuse she suffered at his hands, has become common knowledge to music fans.
It's a sticky wicket to untangle, as there's no question that Ike's behavior was reprehensible throughout their artistic and personal relationship. But good Lord, what music they made.
They're perhaps best known for songs like "River Deep, Mountain High," which Phil Spector produced, as well as for their electric cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary." It's impossible to deny the duo's impact, with Ike on guitar, powering his band like a freight train engineer shoveling coal into a roaring furnace; and Tina on vocals, exemplifying her take-no-prisoners, rock 'n' roll spirit.
Ike & Tina Turner Sing The Blues is a new collection that brings together two of the duo's LP releases from the latter half of the 1960s. This is Ike & Tina exploring their roots, covering tunes by such traditional blues icons as Robert Johnson and T-Bone Walker, along with soul tracks penned by Otis Redding and Booker T & the MGs. The result is a naked, raw slice of dirty blues by an incredibly tight band, fronted by arguably the greatest female rock and soul singer of all time.
(We could debate such a claim all day, but no one else comes close, as far as I'm concerned. When Tina sings, your pants, your heart, your soul, and your belly become inflamed.)
I'll confess that I'm no blues expert, but I'll describe this album as best I can. These are slow, brutal performances about broken hearts and lopsided love affairs. In other words, they're exactly the kind of songs Tina Turner was born to sing — and she sings the living hell out of them.