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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stony Plain Records artist: Rory Block - Hard Luck Child - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (October 21, 2014), Hard Luck Child, from Rory Block and I think that it's the best yet of her "Mentor Series" releases. This album, a tribute to the incredible Skip James, opens with the only original Block track, Nehemiah James, which is a interpretive story of James life with slick slide work. Special Rider Blues is up next and Block not only shows her mastery of side, but also hits the vocals quite nicely. Cypress Grove Blues is so much James at his best, Block translates it nicely and her finger picking and slide work is fine. If You Haven't Had Any Hay, Get On Down The Road is a country blues style track with Block giving it a bit of a contemporary feel vocally over traditional picking styling. Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues is another song in a somewhat Piedmont style but with a more contemporary feel. Block overdubbing herself with picking and slide in quite nice. My absolute favorite track on the release, and also one of my favorite all time blues tracks by anyone, Devil Got My Woman, is up next and Block really captures the heart of James on this track with tight guitar and vocal work. Excellent! Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader is of course done in spiritual style with Block singing chorus behind her own lead vocals. Not only is this very effective but the slide work on this track is particularly cool. Hard Time Killing Floor Blues is a solemn track done in all seriousness. Block does a nice job of delivering the pain in the original track and as always is spot on with her guitar work. On the track, I'm So Glad, as made popular by Cream in the 60's, Block backs her vocals again keeps the guitar light and fluid with rich gospel like backing vocals. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Hard Time Child, another track that exemplifies James at his best. Block adorns this track with guitar very sparingly keeping in the spirit of James. Job well done.

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