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Music Review
By Swank

Listen to Chris King
Chris Thomas King

The Irish have their Celtic music, the German Polka, and the British the Beatles… America has a couple of sounds that are purely her own as well, both with the same roots but with lives all of their own. The sounds are Jazz and Blues. I do not know much about Jazz, except that my cousin sings in a Jazz band, but I can tell you the Blues are awesome. My first real experience with Blues was when I lived in Alaska. I lived in Arctic America for three years and was initially disappointed to find out that all the live music in Fairbanks was the Blues. Of course, my feelings matched the tone of their music so I did not want to hear it. As time went on I felt better and better about my stay in Alaska and began to like the music. So now just like Alaska, it is stuck in me - like the memory of a favorite pillow.

One of the best Blues sounds I have heard since being back from Alaska is that of Chris Thomas King. He is the son of what the album jacket calls, 'Louisiana swamp-blues legend Tabby Thomas.' I cannot argue, especially after listening to track 9 and 13 in which he sings, a fully mature blues voice!!!!!!!!! The album is called Red Mud and was recorded by Black Top Records, Inc. in 1998. The W.C. Handy Award nominated the album for Acoustic Blues Album of the Year.

The music played by Chris Thomas King (CTK) is pure blues. He incorporates some basic blues riffs with a most exceptional voice and some exceptionally progressive blues creativity. He uses only guitar, harmonica, and some drums to create a sometimes classical, sometimes progressive blues sound. No matter the approach CTK takes, the voice and music match, his music can be characterized by harmony of all its parts. My favorite song is track number four - Come On in My Kitchen. This song was originally done by Robert Johnson and then remade (at a minimum) by Steve Miller. The second best on this album is track thirteen where CTK plays the guitar and his father sings. Unbelievable.

I think the Blues is played by some of the greatest musicians of all time and therefore it is very difficult for me to judge this, let alone any, blues album. Chris Thomas King has coupled both the historical blues sound with that of his version of the modern blues in a perfect manner. For all future blues reviews this album will be the benchmark. There are very few blues artist I would rate above Chris Thomas King.

I rate this album 4 BBB's. Blues is a class of it's own and not to be compared to any other type of music. This album is the benchmark against which will rate all future blues bands.

CdNow has Red Mud for $13.49. You may never find it this cheap except at the second hand stores (and anyone who would give it up is pretty stupid). Please enjoy. If you like the blues you cannot go wrong. Check out some of his new stuff on CdNow as well.

Ranking out of 5 BB&B's.




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