Otis Taylor – "Past Times:" Otis Taylor reminds me of Peter Karp in that they're both songwriters first and blues musicians second. Taylor is an amazing storyteller and this song tells the story of a man who knows he only has a few hours left to live. The man considers whether he has strength to fight to stay longer or if he's ready for the suffering to end, pondering the hours he has left and the years behind him. Musically, Chuck Campbell's pedal steel quietly but urgently weeps and wails like a ghost. The blues are filled with tales of sorrow but rarely are they lyrically or musically presented like this.
Peter Parcek 3 – "Get Right With God:" There are thousands and thousands of blues guitar instrumentals and most of them are well intentioned but lukewarm copies of the sliver worth hearing. Parcek's "Get Right With God" belongs in that sliver. His lead lines are short and stylish. The other thing that intrigues me about this one is the way guitars are layered . That might not win Parcek many friends with purists but the differing tones create a tasty blend.
Magic Slim & The Teardrops – "Cummins Prison Farm:" The tale of the penitent prisoner has been a part of the music tradition for thousands of years. Johnny Cash helped make the murder ballad and tales of redemption and remorse from behind bars part of the language of popular music. "Cummins Prison Farm" is about a man incarcerated in one the most notorious prisons in American history and Magic Slim gives it a spirited interpretation.