Strongheaded woman (Radio edit)

from Strongheaded Woman by Billie Ray Martin

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As a prelude to the album The Soul Tapes (to be released on 13 May 2016), Billie Ray Martin releases Strongheaded Woman as the lead single - an epic tale of a Las Vegas slot machine addict seemingly meeting her Rhinestone Cowboy, only to discover that he’s just another cheap hit and run sleazebag.

The single includes the Mooli remix of the album track The Glittering Gutter – a song about the downfall of Billie's place of upbringing, the red light district of Hamburg. The Mooli remix adds the kind of darkness that typifies some of Billie's output over recent years. Mooli have taken an already epic track and given it the Portishead treatment, complete with soundtrack style strings.

Billie has never been easy to categorise. Clearly a soul singer, her career however has seen her mostly as a pioneer of house and electronic music, most notably her groundbreaking work with Electribe 101 and her seminal hit Your Loving Arms. Her explorations have led her further into the worlds of ambient music and drum & bass among other areas of electronica.

Her new album The Soul Tapes is a ‘first’ for Billie: no electronic music this time. Billie realised her long-held dream of recording an album that is equally influenced by Hi-Records (Al Green, Ann Peebles, Willie Mitchell) as it is by ’60s garage records. It is also not devoid of a certain country twang, and even Bo Diddley peeks through the door on one song.

Billie Ray Martin and producer/writer Jon Tiven were introduced in New York in the mid ’90s and had started drafting the odd song, together with Sally Tiven. Further writing sessions followed, until it was decided that there was an album of songs worth recording.

Booked into New York’s 900 Broadway Studio, Jon and Billie were thrilled to find themselves working where Keith Richards had recorded his first solo album. Under this omen Jon Tiven brought the musicians in, not least world famous drummer Simon Kirke. Jon’s credits include albums produced for Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack and Willie Nelson as well as numerous awards and Grammy nominations.

It was not until 2014 that the opportunity arose to mix the album, re-record many of the vocals, add production and instruments and determine exactly the final sound of the album. The results are convincing and powerful and show once again Billie’s refusal to conform to trends, preferring as she does, to create them.

lyrics

Strongheaded Woman

We met in Las Vegas at the slot machines
You pulled me like the aces and the queens
With your sequinned blazer and your rhinestone smile
You came ablaze out of the flaming red lights

You said I was the seetest thing you’ve ever seem
You said that we could be a winning team
But when you spoke of honeymoon and Chemps Elisee
It looked like lady luck had smiled down on me

But the only threshhold that you carried me over
Was the borderline of trash
Before the night wa over

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

And while I dreamed of Paris through a veil of beer
You said let’s go and tie the knot right here
Oh but is the way to treat your fiancee
A drive-through chapel and an all-in buffet
And a fake priest dressed as Elvis sang ‘Love me tender’
While a hired dwarf witness played an imitation fender

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

Now, You can say I’m dumb and blind
Or blame it on my trusting mind
But with dime and dance romances
Well, you gotta take your chances
Now I’m at the hot dog stand
With a motel key in hand
And I’m runnin’
And I’m runnin’


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And make sure that before dawn
I’ll be back at the tables

credits

from Strongheaded Woman, released April 16, 2016
written by billie ray martin and jon and sally tiven

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Billie Ray Martin Berlin, Germany

"Billie Ray Martin is one of the living legends in modern music history and one of the best voices on planet earth."
DJ Hell
"Billie Ray Martin is an absolute revelation."
K.Hollings, The Wire
Billie Ray Martin: "I'm a kid from Hamburg’s red-light district, who wanted to be a soul singer, but ended up playing repetitive machine music, while still trying to be a soul singer"
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