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  Listen Up! 7/21/03 Listen Up!

Monday, July 21

Furry Lewis, “Good Morning Judge,” Fat Possum Records. It’s always a pleasure to hear the recordings made in the early 60s of blues musicians tracked down by the young white folk music fans. It was like home-made history all the time. Lewis was 62 in 1962 when he recorded this set of very personal takes on the blues. He had a percussive, downright danceable guitar style, and a personable vocal presence. He gives us relaxed, matter-of-fact, and frequently humorous blues and ballads without ever repeating himself throughout the ten songs.

The Del McCoury Band, “It’s Just the Night,” McCoury Music/Sugar Hill Records. I just can’t get enough of Del McCoury, the finest singer of bluegrass music in the world, for my completely non-traditionalist ears. I love him because he’s steeped in the tradition, clearly, but he’s not bound by it. He listens outside the form, and brings in melodies and lyrics that Bill Monroe never thought about. And, more, he sings with soul and passion easily recognized by anybody who enjoys music. There is an excitement here that I just don’t get from a lot of bluegrass out there. No Richard Thompson cover this time, but plenty of great songs. LATE NOTE: Hold on, I spoke too soon. The last song on this album is indeed a Richard Thompson cover, “Two-Faced Love,” and it’s every bit as perfect for McCoury as “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” was. I’m ready to propose a McCoury sings Thompson album. There are so many more classics in waiting.

--Steve Pick

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