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From The Dust by Rory Block

Singer/guitarist Rory Block has been at it for awhile now - "it" being the business of playing & singing the blues, with particular emphasis on country blues (also known as folk blues and - geography permitting - Delta blues). Her latest From The Dust mixes a few lesser-known covers (Muddy Waters’ "I Be Bound," Charlie Patton’s "High Water Everywhere") with a clutch of solid, stand-up originals featuring her voice & guitar(s), front & center, no other players, no muss, no fuss, no ugly yellow waxy build-up. This could’ve been an album full of dry, pious purist presentations of The Blues They Were Then, with more "reverence" than actual soul or vitality. Fortunately, Block is respectful of the traditions & forms of acoustic blues of the 1920s & 30s but is not constricted by her devotion - she’s not afraid to (tastefully) overdub guitars & voices despite the fact "it just wasn’t done back-when." Vocally, Block has a husky timbre recalling Bonnie Raitt circa 1971 but a bit deeper (and sassier). Her guitar playing is soulful, deft ‘n’ dexterous, but she’s wise enough to employ her most formidable technique in the service of the song, not her ego (i.e., no show-off-y solos). Further proving she doesn’t live in a world where music began in 1926 and ended in 1947, Dust closes with a beautiful, glistening, dreamy instrumental, "Unprecedented Quiet," recalling the unperturbed rootsy abstractions of guitarists Loren (MazzaCane) Connors, Henry Kaiser, and the late master John Fahey. If you’re seeking country blues that sounds like the primo recordings by Rev. Gary Davis or Big Joe Williams, you may be disappointed - but, if you love acoustic blues (with overtones of gospel) & want to hear them taken into the 21st century, put Ms. Rory’s latest platter on your shopping list.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rory Block
  • CD Title: From The Dust
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Telarc
  • Musicians: R.B.: vocals & guitars.
  • Rating: Five Stars
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