Review of T’ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do by Rev. Keith A. Gordon,

T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do book coverAuthor Rhetta Akamatsu has a lot of interests, and one of them is blues music. When reading about the blues, the Marietta Georgia native discovered that female blues singers were often overlooked in books written about the music. To help balance the scales, Akamatsu put together T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do: Women Blues Singers Old and New, which takes an in-depth look into the lives of blues women from both the early days of the music as well as the contemporary blues scene.

Akamatsu put a lot of research into T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, and she covers an impressive range of blues artists. The first section of the book, titled “The Early Blues Women,” includes profiles of classic early era blues singers like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Memphis Minnie, and Sippie Wallace, as well as R&B-oriented modern era singers like Ruth Brown and Big Mama Thornton.

The second section of T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do covers “Blues Women From The ’60s To The Present,” offering profiles of old-school blues and R&B artists like Etta James and Irma Thomas, as well as traditionally-oriented contemporary blues singers like Marcia Ball and Saffire (the Uppity Blues Women), along with more pop-and-rock-oriented performers like Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, among others.

Eighteen women are covered in the pages of T’Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, a long overdue effort to put the significant and influential contributions of female blues artists in their proper context.