Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lucinda Williams - Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

Lucinda Williams (guitar, vocal); Phil Parlapiano (accordion); Taras Prodanius, Bo Ramsey (guitar); Doug Pettibone (vocal, bass); Don Heffington (drums).

Williams had garnered considerable critical acclaim, but her commercial success was moderate. Emmylou Harris said of Williams, "She is an example of the best of what country at least says it is, but, for some reason, she's completely out of the loop and I feel strongly that that's country music's loss."

and the original. reviewer Chuck Hicks

'Hardtime Killing Floor Blues' is considered by some as the penultimate Depression era song, and James' eerie performance here suggests what could be the lament of the downtrodden for all ages. His aged voice soars in a lonely falsetto against the backdrop of ominous bass string lines and nervous upper string picking. The guitar work throughout maintains this constant tension between low register anger and high-pitched fear. James' voice sounds as if it seeks escape from theses dark extremes. Unlike other Delta artists, James did not use a slide. His was an elaborate finger-picking style more akin to Piedmont bluesmen like Brownie McGhee and Cephas & Wiggins. He was also fond of using drop E tuning and dissonant solos to heighten the tension of his music. 'Sick Bed Blues,' written after James was diagnosed with cancer, contains passages where his guitar intentionally gallops away off-key, dramatically suggesting the artist's reaction to learning of his terminal illness. 'Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers' is not for the faint of heart. If genuine, painful blues is what the listener wants to experience, it doesn't get more brazen than this. Skip James was not simply the purveyor of a unique style; his music in many ways reflects the darkest shades of human nature.

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