Tuesday, August 23, 2011

James Blood Ulmer - Birthright

South Carolina's James Blood Ulmer has made a legacy out of his fusion of blues, jazz, soul, funk, and wild experimentation, but on occasion he releases a straight, palate-cleansing album of acoustic country blues, seemingly more out of need than choice. Birthright, the most graceful and haunting record of this type, is a concise little masterpiece. Freed of sidemen, Ulmer and his guitar meander down the dark dusty roads of the soul, backwards through time. He wrestles with the devil's influence in classic blues fashion, using his own experience with perdition as a warning to others. Not that all of these are grim morality tales, no sir: there's a few dance numbers, a song or two about girls, and covers of Howlin' Wolf and "Sittin' On Top of the World." Vital.
I Ain't Superstitious

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