Phew!…talk about a dangerous title! I reviewed Andrew White's CandyRat release last year (here), a disc that relieved more than one critic of the fear that the new label might screw up along the lines of old Windham Hill's mostly regrettable adventures in vocal musicmaking…choices that contributed mightily to the organization's collapse. With unerring taste, though, the CandyRatters, in their initial foray, chose the right guy, a gent with a very strong John Martyn-styled presence (and Martyn's one of the most astounding of the modern folk and folk-blues genre). Now, in his second effort, White joins with Brendan Power, harmonica player par excellence, for an all blues / folk blues release that will tickle the Eustachian tubes of even the most demanding.
Power is exceedingly dexterous on his instrument, highly melodic and mindful of Norton Buffalo, though not quite so romantic, and many modern listeners will make more than one reference to John Popper. White strums and fingerpicks a basic old-timey guitar while, on the cuts not instrumentals, singing in his gravelly half-growl. A little over half the songs are his, two Power's, the remainder trad cuts, but all are of a cloth, steeped in the way-back days when Brit and Yank folk cross-collided with the Deep South and yielded the mode's first real turn to the future.
No matter what happens, if you purchase a CandyRat CD, you're first and foremost going to get an earful of great guitar playing, no matter what else is included, and Andy White doesn't fail to satisfy anywhere, either in duets with Power or underneath his own vocals in what we might wish to then call a "trio". Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, is the very Waterboys-ish Talk About the Moon, which sounds as though it could've been on that group's This is the Sea release. There are many things to be happy about here…but, just as a preliminary, thank Christ they didn't call themselves 'White & Power'!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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