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Rainer - The Westwood Sessions Volume I

The Westwood Sessions
Volume I


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A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

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These are recently discovered tapes of sessions Rainer who did both solo acoustic and with his three-piece band Das Combo (Nick Augustine bass, and Bruce Halper on drums) during the 1980s. They are the first section of a planned trilogy and represent some of the best and most vibrant music of Rainer's too short career.

Rainer was someone who was not appreciated in America as he was in Europe. He was a musician's musician, Robert Plant used him in sessions, and Billy Gibbons was a big fan. He was a master of the Dobro and slide guitar and his exceptional style fused and incorporated finger picking, slide guitar, tape loops, and electronic manipulation and this uniqueness is what earned the accolades of his peers.

His music is based in the blues. He wrote five of the twelve on this disc which also includes songs by the likes of Willie Dixon, J.B. Lenoir and Bessie Smith as well as one by his musical compadre and champion in bringing these tapes to life, Howie Gelb of Giant Sand. This disc can serve as both an introduction to the complexity of his music that is at the same time it is starkly simple.

Rainer was taken from his too short time here by a brain tumor in 1997 after an illness of nearly two years and this disc can stand as one of the great accomplishments of his, or any life, in both scope and actualization. An aurally stunning piece of work that shows the might and power of his electric work, Fear, and the sensitivity and shear beauty of his acoustic work, Zealots Serve Dogmas, both of which he wrote. Special nods to Eric Westfall for his work on the production and mixing of this dazzling disc.

Track List:

  • Voodoo Music
  • Mellow Down Easy
  • Wayfaring Stranger
  • Backwater Blues
  • Mush Mind Blues
  • All Done In
  • Fear
  • Just A Little Bit
  • Zealots Serve Dogmas (acoustic)
  • Every Body Wants To Go To Heaven
  • Zealots Serve Dogmas
  • I Am A Sinner

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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