This is easily one of the strongest and most cohesive of Chris Thomas King’s recent discs, and maybe the strongest he has ever done. On Red Mud Sessions he seems to do everything, and he does it all with exceptional clarity and strength. He wrote nine of the twelve songs, one being an E.J. ("Son") House Jr. tune, and two belong to Robert Johnson. King plays all the instruments, a plethora, except the drums which are played with great care and touch by Darryl White, and King co-produced the disc as well as doing the musical arrangements.
This is a reworking of an out of print disc of the same name released on the Black Top label in 1998; he took off 2 cuts and added the 3 covers, these covers are more in accordance with the feel of the disc. The feel comes from Thomas playing dobro, and national steelbodied guitars. He also plays bass, harmonica, classical acoustic guitar, keyboards, drums, and percussion; who knows, I might have missed one or two instruments, but the overall feel is more primitive acoustic sound. I don’t think there is a weak track on the disc his songs hold to the feel and manner of the artists he has chosen to cover. Though the sound and feel is dedicated to this more raw and primitive sound of these early artists there is nothing that is old about this disc. Thomas has long been held as an innovator and though he comes from a traditional background and studied at the feet of the masters who played at his father’s blues club in Baton Rouge, he was also reviled for fusing hip hop into his blues. Listen to his feral version of the Son House classic, “Death Letter Blues,” and the next song the tender but untamed “Raining Angels.” A beautiful way to end this true benchmark of a disc.
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