Tag: gospel

Levon Helm

Electric Dirt

Dirt Farmer/Vanguard

Grateful Dead covers are always fun — remember the 1991 tribute album, “Deadicated”? And “Tennessee Jed” is a great song no matter how you slice it. So when Helm begins the followup to his comeback disc, “Dirt Farmer,” by singing “Cold iron shackles and a ball and chain” against a wall of sound made up of resonator guitar, piano, organ and horns (including the ubiquitous Howard Johnson on tuba), one can’t help but grin from ear to ear.

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Ry Cooder

The UFO Has Landed

Rhino

One of these days, someone’s gonna do the 4-CD box set Cooder deserves — with early Rising Sons and Captain Beefheart material, session work, solo stuff, soundtracks, world music collaborations … But until then, this double CD culled from studio albums and soundtracks will have to do.

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William Lee Ellis

God’s Tattoos

Yellow Dog

The godson of Bill Monroe (father Tony Ellis played banjo for the Blue Grass Boys), Ellis is a classically trained guitarist who gave up his job as pop music critic for The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal so he could pursue a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology — and, of course, make new-millennium blues gospel records.

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Buddy Miller

Universal United House of Prayer

New West

Miller has been making great albums for 10 years and traditionally has gone the hardcore-country route. Here he takes a stripped-down, almost ambient approach and creates a delightfully dark fusion of blues, gospel and folk.

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