Those people who think that the string band and jug band traditions are long gone will have to reconsider after taking a listen to Linda Michelet and Del Goldfarb's "Something Special." Linda & Del have written 12 new tunes which extend these traditions into the 21st century, highlighting some of the roots of rockabilly and skiffle along the way.
Del plays guitar, and Linda provides percussion and conga, with the vocal duties shared between them. On three of the tracks, taken from a live radio broadcast, they operate as a duo, but for the remainder they are augmented by bass, drums and washboard. The supporting cast includes Cody Dickinson (drums and washboard) from the highly rated North Mississippi All Stars, and the legendary John Sebastian (harp) on three tracks where Tommy Burroughs also adds slide guitar.
The best tracks are two of those where the band includes Dickinson, Sebastian and Burroughs album. The lazy sunny afternoon feel encompassed by "Got Something Good With Her" is only pipped by the comparatively more frantic "I Need Your Love." The latter features a guitar sound more reminiscent of a pedal steel, whilst the whole thing is driven along by the beat of Dickinson's drum and washboard.
The best title, however, is saved for the closing track, "Don't Puke On My Shoes," which is a sentiment that we can all agree with. The song opens with a guitar lick that brings to mind Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line," and the lyrics show off the more light hearted side of Linda & Del's songwriting.
With "Something Special" Linda & Del show that there is still mileage in the string band and jug band traditions. Whilst being firmly rooted in these traditions they also add their own touch of originality in their songwriting. "Something Special" is much more than a curiosity, and should appeal to those who like the sounds of the old string bands and jug bands, as well as those who appreciate bands like the Back Porch Rockers, for
example. For more information on Linda & Del and "Something Special" try the Biograph Records site (www.biograph.com).
This review is copyright © 2001 by Gordon Baxter, 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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