Down the Dirt Road: The Songs of Charley Patton

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
Coordinated by acoustic Delta guitarist Steve James (who also penned the liner notes and appears on two tracks), this is a respectful but refreshingly not-always-reverent tribute to the undisputed king of the Delta blues. Although there are only 12 tracks and some of Patton's defining tunes -- like "Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues" and "A Spoonful Blues" -- are MIA, these performances capture the spirit of Patton and show how his legacy extends to contemporary blues musicians. There really isn't a bad or misguided track here (unusual for tribute discs), a situation helped by the quality and pedigree of the musicians involved, who seek to maintain the rawness of Patton's ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
Coordinated by acoustic Delta guitarist Steve James (who also penned the liner notes and appears on two tracks), this is a respectful but refreshingly not-always-reverent tribute to the undisputed king of the Delta blues. Although there are only 12 tracks and some of Patton's defining tunes -- like "Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues" and "A Spoonful Blues" -- are MIA, these performances capture the spirit of Patton and show how his legacy extends to contemporary blues musicians. There really isn't a bad or misguided track here (unusual for tribute discs), a situation helped by the quality and pedigree of the musicians involved, who seek to maintain the rawness of Patton's blues. Certainly keeping the predominantly unplugged music stripped to just guitar or harmonica (in the case of Snooky Pryor's amazing "Pony Blues," which finds the classic bluesman sounding as inspired as ever), or both (as Annie Raines and Paul Rishell's take on Patton's spiritual "I Shall Not Be Moved"), maintains the focus. Delta-based artists such as Corey Harris and Dave Van Ronk turn in fine if unsurprising performances. But the unexpected addition of Brit pub rocker Graham Parker works surprisingly well, as his gritty voice (although not necessarily rudimentary guitar) does justice to "Poor Me." Harpist Charlie Musselwhite sticks to guitar for an ominous yet sweet "Pea Vine Blues," but it's Joe Louis Walker's incendiary seven-and-a-half-minute version of "Sugar Mama" and the closing medley of "Down the Dirt Road Blues"/"When Your Way Gets Dark," sung with a sexy, knockout approach by the album's only female vocalist, Colleen Sexton, clocking in at nearly ten minutes, that are the album's highlights. They open up these songs, leaving room for improvisation that expands the concepts but stays true to Patton's originals. One of the most successful albums of this type, this is an excellent (and well-recorded) introduction to the music of one of the touchstones of the blues.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/28/2001
  • Label: Telarc
  • UPC: 089408353529
  • Catalog Number: 83535
  • Sales rank: 207,862

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Elder Greene Blues - Mark Rubin (5:21)
  2. 2 Poor Me - Graham Parker (3:15)
  3. 3 Pea Vine Blues - Charlie Musselwhite (3:41)
  4. 4 Pony Blues (4:57)
  5. 5 I Shall Not Be Moved (3:42)
  6. 6 Some of These Days - T-Bone Wolk (4:20)
  7. 7 Sugar Mama - Joe Louis Walker (7:29)
  8. 8 Mississippi Boweavil Blues - Dave Van Ronk (2:27)
  9. 9 Moon Going Down (1:55)
  10. 10 Shake It and Break It - Mark Rubin (2:09)
  11. 11 Some Summer Day - Bill Melcher (5:21)
  12. 12 Down the Dirt Road Blues/When Your Way Gets Dark (9:34)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Charlie Musselwhite Guitar, Vocals
Joe Louis Walker Guitar, Vocals
Graham Parker Guitar, Vocals
Paul Rishell Guitar, Vocals
Dave Van Ronk Guitar, Vocals
Snooky Pryor Harmonica, Vocals
Steve James Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Kid Bangham Guitar
Per Hanson Percussion
Levon Helm Drums
Mark Rubin Tuba, Upright Bass
Corey Harris Guitar, Vocals
Guy Davis Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Annie Raines Harmonica, Vocals
Dan McKinney Organ, Piano
Dave Ferrara Track Performer
Gregg Hoover Guitar
T-Bone Wolk Banjo, Mandolin
Colleen Sexton Vocals
Mark Murphy Upright Bass
Technical Credits
Pete Carlson Engineer
Steve James Liner Notes
Chris Andersen Engineer
Lincoln Clapp Mastering
John Platania Engineer
Robert Woods Executive Producer
Steve Drown Engineer
Chris Rival Engineer
Anilda Carrasquillo Art Direction
Harry Gale Engineer
Dan McKinney Engineer
Michael Bitterman Engineer
Grace Falconer Engineer
Randy Labbe Producer
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