South Memphis String Band: Old Times There…

Written by May 7th, 2012 at 5:23 pm

South Memphis String Band
Old Times There…
(Memphis International)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

The sophomore album from this ad-hoc roots supergroup of sorts featuring Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus was recorded live in the studio with ribbon mics, and sounds it. This batch of predominantly traditional tunes played by unplugged guitars, mandolins, banjos, harmonicas etc. could have been recorded 80 years ago. The trio sound inspired playing music they clearly love, and even if some is wink and a nudge racist (“B-L-A-C-K,” “Can You Blame the Colored Man?”), it’s all performed in a stripped down, hardcore, early 1900s, unvarnished spirit that makes O Brother… sound like Taylor Swift. Ry Cooder and T Bone Burnett would approve.

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