What does it sound like?:
The album opens with a simple strummed mandolin introduction; and then the warmest sweetest vocal Ry Cooder has given in years as he launches into the Pilgrim Travellers 1950s gospel song ‘Straight Street’. Son Joachim comes in with some gentle drums, and, glory be, there’s the great team of Bobby King and Terry Evans (who has sadly died since this recording) together with Arnold McCuller with perfectly weighted backing vocals. It’s Cooder, it’s King and Evans, it’s a revived old American classic you’ve never heard before, and all’s right with the world.
The album is full of stuff like this. Cooder established himself in the early 70s as a one man curator and rediscover of American folk, blues and country song, and here he is doing it all over again.
There are two Blind Willie Johnson songs from the 20s and 30s. ‘Everybody Ought to Treat a Stranger Right’ Has a wonderfully funky groove with superlative slide guitar, and backing vocals perfectly locked in. ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ is funeral in pace; it’s dark and full of foreboding and fear, and as powerful a version as I’ve ever heard.
The title track and Rosetta » Continue Reading.