That country blues was a folk form is aptly demonstrated on this album of acoustic field recordings made at the Ariton, AL, home of J.W. Warren by folklorist George Mitchell in 1981 and 1982. Warren's songs are all based on proven country blues templates, and with the shift of a line or two, he makes each his own, giving this unhurried, gentle album tremendous charm. Highlights include the intriguing "Hoboing into Hollywood," the banjo-derived guitar instrumental "Rabbit on a Log," and a unique version of "Corinna, Corinna" that fills in the back-story called "The Escape of Corinna." The process of taking a familiar song and tweaking it just slightly and bringing it home like a new penny is everywhere in this sequence, and while songs like "A Long Old Lane" have obvious precedents (in this case, Blind Lemon Jefferson's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean"), Warren manages to make it feel new again, even as it retains its original arrangement and tone. Low key and intimate, Life Ain't Worth Livin' is a pleasant delight.
|Label:||Fat Possum Records|