Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Various Artists: Hellhound On My Trail

Hellhound on My Trail (Telarc 83521; 62:47) presents a laundry list of both modern and old school bluesmeisters interpreting the telling tales of Robert Johnson. Youngblood Chris Thomas King delivers an impassioned unaccompanied rendition of “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day,” singing from the gut while playing some mean slide guitar. King also pairs up with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown on an acoustic version of Johnson’s “When You Got a Good Friend,” which Gate sings with a warm, intimate growl. King also joins forces with blues harpist extraordinaire James Cotton on the Johnson classic “Come on in My Kitchen.” Taj Mahal does a relaxed but grooving rendition of “Crossroads” while electric guitar hero Eric Gales exercises soulful restraint on a haunting acoustic rendition of “Me and the Devil Blues,” accompanied only by Hammond B-3 organist Norris Johnson. Lucky Peterson puts an electric six-string bass to good effect on an unaccompanied version of “Stones in my Passway” while Susan Tedeschi belts out with wailing, Joplinesque intensity on “Walking Blues,” accompanied only by Derek Trucks’ dobro. Other highpoints include the charismatic duo of Robert Lockwood Jr. and Carey Bell wailing in tandem on “I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man,” Joe Louis Walker’s throat-ripping gospel holler on an accompanied acoustic rendition of “Dust My Broom” and powerhouse guitarist Carl Weathersby dealing in deep blue waters on an acoustic unaccompanied version of “Stop Breaking Down Blues.” David “Honeyboy” Edwards, a one-time-traveling companion of Robert Johnson and the elder statesman of this project at age 85, delivers an unaccompanied version of “Traveling Riverside Blues.”

Originally Published