Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

RORY BLOCK

BLUES WALKING LIKE A MAN- A TRIBUTE TO SON HOUSE

2008-12-02

RORY BLOCK Rory Block has built a long and successful career channeling the tracks of first generation bluesmen. Playing solo as they most often did, Block willingly puts herself under the microscope for examination by the purists who know every note laid down by the sadly under-recorded fathers of the blues. This disc features her taking on the legendary Son House who taught none other than Robert Johnson and inspired a young Muddy Waters to play the blues. As Block notes in the liner notes, his sound is simple but the process of producing it is not. House was not a conventional guitarist in any sense of the word. Rather than simply strum the guitar with an easy progression of chords, he was all over it with slaps, string snaps and unpredictable strums. Block takes us back all the way to House’s 1930’s era Paramount 78’s with "My Black Mama", "Preachin’ Blues" and "Dry Spell Blues", the later of which she warms up with layers of vocals. Also included are an acappella rendition of "Grinnin’ in Your Face" as well as stone classics "Death Letter", "Country Farm Blues" and "Shetland Pony Blues". While blues is the order of the day, Block also dips into House’s gospel well with "I Want to Go Home On the Morning Train". Each cut is delivered by Block with a preservationist’s skill, a fan’s passion and a master’s touch. While Son is sadly gone, his legacy is clearly in good hands. SMITTY

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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