"Hellhound on my Trail" (Songs of Robert Johnson)
by Dave Thomas
Review date: April 2001
1999 KBA Award Winner|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation
All-Star Blues Tribute with lots of guest artists:|
Carey Bell, Tony Braunagel, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Keith Brown,
Carl Carlton, James Cotton, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Eric Gales,
Alvin "Youngblood" Hart, Norris Johnson, Chris Thomas King,
Robert Lockwood, Jr, Taj Mahal, Bob Margolin, Reggie McBride,
Robert Palmer, Pinetop Perkins, Lucky Peterson, Susan Tedeschi,
Derek Trucks, Joe Louis Walker, Carl Weathersby.
Robert Johnson recorded just 29 songs in his all too short life and arguably they are probably the most covered body of work ever in the blues field. Telarc has got together an almost unbelievable wealth of artists to contribute songs to this enjoyable album celebrating the songs of Robert Johnson. The album contains 16 of Robert's songs and was produced by John Snyder.
The Album kicks off with Taj Mahal and his version of "Crossroads," Taj plays a tasty National Steel Guitar to accompany his splendid singing on a kind of lazy beat against Tony Braunagel's brushed drumming. Robert Lockwood, Jr contributes "I'm a Steady Rollin' Man" with Carey Bell blowing some first class harp, which gives this song a great feel and is one of the stand-out
tracks on the CD. I particularly like the David "Honeyboy" Edwards solo rendition of "Traveling Riverside Blues" with it's real down home feel to it. Eric Gales's vocal on "Me and the Devil Blues" is worth the price of the disc by itself. Eric's voice sounds so lonesome and lazy and works so well against the sparse Hammond B3 organ of Norris Johnson whilst the acoustic guitar playing of Eric Gales is a joy. Joe Louis Walker also plays some top class acoustic slide guitar as he gives a good vocal to "Dust my Blues." "Hellhound on my Trail" is handled by Alvin "Youngblood" Hart, James Cotton also does some sterling work with the harp. Carl Weathersby plays a nifty guitar as he does a good job with his smooth slightly gritty vocals on "Stop Breakin' Down Blues." Pinetop Perkins is accompanied by Bob Margolin playing a very dirty sounding guitar on "Sweet Home Chicago." The only lady on the album is Susan Tedeschi, who is helped out by Derek Trucks on guitar. Susan gives a gut reaching vocal on "Walking Blues." The closing track is by
blue-eyed soul singer Robert Palmer who produces a big sound on "Milkcow's Calf Blues," he is helped along by the capable Carl Carlton playing Dobro plus Acoustic Guitars and Mauro Spina on Drums. Although I've only mentioned some of the 16 songs that make up this terrific tribute to perhaps the greatest bluesman ever, the one's I've not mentioned are also very good as well. The verity of styles help to make this album a good listen, without becoming boring.
The album as a whole brings together many of the current big stars in the blues world, who treat the project with respect and it shows in the performances that have been so loving put together on this CD. I think that Robert Johnson's songs will probably live on forever.
Telarc Records Website: www.telarc.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dave Thomas, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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