Hurple Hoopla

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chris Thomas King: The Roots

I love this guy (in a manly sort of way). I love his voice. I love his songwriting. I love his covers. I love his innovations with the blues. I love when it's just him and his guitar performing an old blues chesnut. And, I love this album.

On this CD, it's just Chris Thomas King, his guitar and a mix of classic songs from Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, and others mixed with a few Chris Thomas King originals. The best part may be how King originals, like "John Law Burned Down The Liquor Store," mix so effortlessly with nearly 80 year-old material from Leadbelly and Robert Johnson. The performances on this album are miles away from those on his Hip-Hop Blues album, and the fact that Chris Thomas King can pull both off with equal conviction and ability is amazing. For a large paercentage of the modern blues-buying public Keb Mo' may be considered the vanguard artist of the genre, but give me Chris Thomas King and his far more impassioned performances anyday.

This may not be the best album from one of the "modern" blues best artists, but it is the one that best showcases his deep love and devotion to the traditional while also spotlighting some of his very best self-penned material. Overall, this is a great primer in Chris Thomas King's talents, although if you move from this album directly to Dirty South Hip Hop Blues or It's A Cold-Ass World you might be thrown for a loop by their more modern approach (as the titles hint). Better to follow up this album with The Red Mudd Sessions or Me, My Guitar and The Blues which are more traditional blues performances.

Final Note: Chris Thomas King was a proud inhabitant of New Orleans. Here you can read about his flight from the city during the build-up to Katrina, and his life since leaving.

This is a cool CD!


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