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Friday, April 1, 2016

New West Records artist: Luther Dickinson - Blues & Ballads - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook: Volume I & II) by Luther Dickinson and it is a pure delight! Opening with Othar Turner's Hurry Up Sunrise, Dickinson teams up with Turner's granddaughter, Sharde' Thomas for a country blues pop track with really nice slide and a tight rhythm. Excellent opener! Up Over Yonder features JJ Grey on vocal and greasy slide work from Jason Isbell which adds real grit. Dickinson's own guitar work, bass by Amy LaVere and Thomas on drums round out this super track. Bang Bang Lulu is a really cool track with a New Orleans feel. Dickinson's own piano and slide work, along with fiddle by Lillie Mae Rische, and Paul Taylor on tub bass gives this track an excellent vibe. Super! Moonshine is an easy paced folk ballad with light, straight up acoustic picking and Dickinson on lead vocal. His slide work on this track again slides giving it a warm homey feel. Jackson is a well constructed folk ballad with simple acoustic accompaniment. This is just pure music. Mean Ol' Wind Died Down is a track that I would say sounds quite a bit like Othar with it's structure, snare drum, duet vocal and fife by Thomas and Dickinson on guitar. Very nice! How I Wish My Train Would Come has a strong melody and with secondary vocals by Thomas, B3 by Charles Hodges and Dickinson on guitar and mandolin, a very nice track. Ain't No Grave was written by Dickinson after the passing of his father. Mavis Staples joins on vocals on this eerie track and Will Sexton on acoustic guitar with Luther taking the prime vocal position and adding beautiful slide work. Excellent! Let It Roll is a very cool jam in spiritual form with a blend of B3, piano and slide guitar, breaking into very bluesy/gospel style melody featuring Thomas and Dickinson. One of my absolute favorites on the release! My Leavin' features Jimbo Mathus on banjo under Dickinson on lead vocal with Thomas on second vocal and fife. Very cool! Horseshoe (Reprise) is an excellent jam with Dickinson on coffe can diddley bo, Jimmy Crosthwait on washboard, Paul Taylor on tub bass and Thomas on fife. Excellent! Blues track, Highwater (Soldier) has a heavy kick drum bottom and lead diddley bo slide work balancing nicely with Dickinson's vocals. And It Hurts is a quiet ballad with acoustic guitar accompaniment, fiddle by Rische and some of the softest vocals on the release. Very nice! Storm, another ballad, has an unsettling melody reinforced by Dickinson's slide work. Dickinson is a master of tension and blending which is well exhibited here. Mojo, Mojo has a solid hill country sound with a raw unpolished feel. Dickinson's vocals, complimented by Thomas, his own guitar and the fiddle work of Rische make for a solid folk track. Very nice! Ol' Cannonball has a pure country blues feel with shuffle brushes by Thomas. This track just flows like water from a stream, natural and pure. A gritty blues number, Devilment, has a great primitive feel with unpolished vocals, raw slide and rudimentary drums. Excellent! Blow Out sounds like an early rocker with simple percussion and Dickinson's driving vocal and guitar work. Very cool! Mayor Langford Birmingham Blues is a really country blues track and another of my favorites on the release. Dickinson's vocals and guitar pickin is well complimented by Rische on fiddle and Dominic Davis on bass. Excellent! Shake (Yo Mama) has a real mountain country feel mixed with a city rock blues. The raw blending of vocals and mandolin, Jimbo Mathus on banjo and Alvin Youngblood on guitar is seriously cool! Wrapping the release is Horseshoe, with Dickinson on acoustic guitar and vocal. His playing technique is nicely showcased on this track making it a perfect conclusion to an excellent release!

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