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Various Artists: Down the Dirt Road: The Songs of Charley Patton

On Down the Dirt Road: The Songs of Charley Patton (Telarc 83535; 54:17), a group of contemporary and old-school blues artists pay homage to the first great star of Delta blues (who recorded from 1929 to 1934). The diverse crew includes harmonica master and singer Snooky Pryor covering Patton’s first big hit recording, “Pony Blues,” guitarist-vocalist Joe Louis Walker on an impassioned reading of “Sugar Mama,” guitarist-singer Dave Van Ronk on “Mississippi Bo Weavil Blues,” guitarist-singer Corey Harris on “Moon Going Down” and guitarist Kid Bangham on a blues-drenched instrumental rendition of the moving ballad “Some Summer Day.” Guitarist Paul Rishell and harmonica ace Annie Raines team up for a straightforward reading of the spiritual “I Shall Not Be Moved” while Charlie Musselwhite renders “Pea Vine Blues” on solo acoustic guitar and vocals. And rocker Graham Parker turns in a surprisingly effective solo rendition of “Poor Me.”

Originally Published