It is a rare thing to hear raw authentic blues these days – and we’re talking Robert Johnson style recordings – a guitar, vocal and maybe something simple beating (a foot on the floor, a single drum etc) the basic rhythm. This is a long way from the studio polished efforts from the current blues statesmen (i.e. Eric Clapton et al). But here we have it – minimal mic’ing, all the nuances of guitar strings buzzing and vibrating on the recording. To top this off Chris also plays using a Pedal Steel Guitar – on its own a rare thing, but combined with the rawness of the delivery – something special to hear, particularly as it isn’t muddied by the fact it has had to be mastered from a piece or warn and tired out piece of vinyl or aged master tape. For most people this isn’t a recording that will invoke simple pleasure and emotional response. This is something that should be atleast listened to once for an appreciation of authenticity.
Chris’ voice is far from the smoothest, but then Chris’ isn’t in the easy listening secton of your local CD shop or webstore; his voice is extremely expressive easily changing in strength of delivery and intonation to support the lyrics.
Before I put most people off Chris’ work completely – his recordings so have ranged massively, through the blues (from this raw approach, through to very polished performances), into Americana (check out Living with The Law) and onto more conventional Rock and Grunge (Din Of Ecastasy). But this album is for Chris Whitley fans, and those that love the purest and rawest of blues or want to have a lesson in what it should sound like.