Last Fair Deal
by Tali Madden
Review date: September 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Exquisite guitar and silky bluesy vocals highlight the artist's Telarc debut
release. Just over three decades into performing and recording, Block has
established a niche as a meaningful solo interpreter of traditional acoustic
blues and folk with a measure of gospel. This release might just be the
most definitive and revealing recorded display of her talents to date.
Block, who spent time as a youth being mentored by Skip James and
Mississippi John Hurt, learned well. She transmits the message of the blues
via the title song, penned by Robert Johnson and Son House's "County Farm
Blues". Block's strong lyrical storytelling skills are evident in originals
such as "Mama's Stray Baby". Folk balladry shines on her "Cry Out Loud".
Block states "I wanted the guitar to be an orchestra on it's own" as one of
her goals for this set. She achieves this with finesse: "Amazing Grace"
instrumentally rendered here ventures into John Fahey/Ry Cooder territory.
Her slide moves Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues" along in a
fluid groove. Over the years, Block has matured into a most valuable,
relevant and articulate emissary of the blues. "Last Fair Deal" provides a
rewarding listening experience.
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