The hype about the pairing of Canadian blues woman Sue Foley and Peter Karp, an Alabaman by way of New Jersey, is that the fourteen songs on He Said She Said were outgrowths of letters exchanged between the two singing guitarists while thousands of miles apart touring with their respective bands. I’ve been a criminal and a saint/I’ve been told that I’m a lot of things that I ain’t/I’ve been a prophet and an afterthought, a man on a mission, diagnosed manic depressive, told my whole life’s in transition, Karp sings in robust Springsteen-esque tones on “Wait,” the disc’s strongest track. But do lonely lovers really write such things to each other while on the road? Karp’s introspective lyrics do, however, make for interesting poetry and, when wedded to a catchy melody akin to Dylan’s “All I Really Want to Do,” a terrific rock song.
Although best known for their work in the blues idiom, Karp and Foley delve into rock, folk, and even country for their solo and duo performances. His solo pieces generally work well, her flamenco guitar-tinged art songs, delivered in craggy, girlish tones, less so. The duets include two blues — the shuffling “Treat Me Right” and the “Wang Dang Doodle”-like “Rules of Engagement” — that feature slashing guitars, along with playful vocal repartee reminiscent of such classic R&B twosomes as Brook and Dinah and Otis and Carla. (Blind Pig)