Posted inMusic

David “Honeyboy” Edwards–White Windows; Big Daddy Kinsey and Sons–Can’t Let Go

WHITE WINDOWS David “Honeyboy” Edwards Blue Suit 102 It’s always interesting to hear what a blues traditionalist does to keep well-worn ideas fresh. Some veteran artists adopt a museum-piece approach, rehashing famous folk themes and affecting quaint “living legend” personas. The most adept rustic survivor from a bygone era was probably Big Bill Broonzy, who […]

Posted inMusic

Lucky Peterson–Lucky Strikes!

LUCKY STRIKES! Lucky Peterson Alligator AL 4770 Despite the renewed mainstream popularity of the blues, aficionados still lament the dearth of the kind of deeply expressive, emotionally taut performances that distinguished the music during its heyday. The litany is familiar: style has won out over substance, spectacle over soul, technique over truth. Especially among young […]

Posted inMusic

Rufus Thomas–That Woman Is Poison!

THAT WOMAN IS POISON! Rufus Thomas Alligator Records AL 4769 Rufus Thomas is the patriarch of Memphis soul music. Although he’s best known to mainstream audiences as the purveyor of such novelty dance numbers as “Walkin’ the Dog” and “The Funky Chicken,” a special respect is due him for his role in keeping the blues […]

Posted inMusic

The Proclaimers–Sunshine on Leith

SUNSHINE ON LEITH The Proclaimers Chrysalis FV41668 I’m not prone to racism, but the first time I got a glimpse of the Proclaimers I indulged in a riot of it. A colleague–one of these pointy-headed, British Simon Frith sociologist types–had said something about a pair of folkie Scotch twins who reminded him of Billy Bragg. […]

Posted inMusic

Elvis Costello–Spike

SPIKE Elvis Costello Warner Bros. 9 25848-1 “I wish you’d known me when I was alive,” croons Elvis Costello, with a studied dissolution, on his new LP, Spike. He’s referring, obliquely, to his celebrated death-and-rebirth dog and pony show of three years ago: After a ten-year career of almost unrelieved caustic energy, the onetime London […]

Posted inMusic

Traveling Wilburys–Volume One

TRAVELING WILBURYS VOLUME ONE Traveling Wilburys Wilbury Records 25796-1 There was a time when the rock ‘n’ roll super session seemed almost meaningful. Clapton and Winwood–together! Beck and Stewart and Truth! Crosby and Stills and Nash and Young! It was thought that opposites–John and Paul-style–could somehow attract, calm each other’s excesses, and produce good music. […]

Posted inMusic

Keith Richards–Talk Is Cheap

TALK IS CHEAP Keith Richards Virgin Records America 790973-2 There is no freedom without constraint, no innocence without guilt; paradise exists only as paradise lost. If we lived in paradise, there would be no need to define these things: in paradise, freedom and innocence are the status quo. In music, syncopation–the lifeblood of rock ‘n’ […]

Posted inMusic

James Cotton–Recorded Live at Antone’s Night Club

JAMES COTTON RECORDED LIVE AT ANTONE’S NIGHT CLUB Antone’s Records and Tapes ANT0007 Harmonica player James Cotton has a reputation as an exhilarating live performer whose high-energy, boogie-laden blues has never been accurately captured on record. During the mid-70s, he carried what was arguably the tightest working blues band of its day–featuring Matt “Guitar” Murphy […]