Moodwise, this CD lies towards the brighter end of the Mayall spectrum, so throw it on at a party and you should see a lot of smiling faces.
Highly recommended for blues fans.
Marty Stuart, Compadres: An Anthology of Duets
Marty Stuart is one of the best-known least-known artists in country music and beyond. This collection of collaborations between the mandolinist extraordinaire and a bevy of musical heavyweights bears witness to the royal circles he's moved in ever since joining up with Lester Flatt at the ripe old age of thirteen.
Recorded at various sessions and situations over the years, these fourteen tracks show the broad range of Stuart's interests and abilities as singer, interpreter, and of course, player. More importantly, they're just plain good listenin'. From an early "Rawhide" with Flatt, to the gospel "Move Along Train" with Mavis Staples, and back to a curious, nouveau-bluegrass version of The Who's "I Can See For Miles" with Old Crow Medicine Show, this CD is all about good times and good feeling.
Johnny Cash on "Doin' My Time" sounds as bubbly as the Man in Black ever managed. Stuart goes toe to toe with B. B. King in a shuffling "Confessin' the Blues," and on a sloshy bar-room bender with Travis Tritt in "The Whisky Ain't Workin'." The previously unreleased duet with Loretta Lynn on the sweetly sad classic "Will You Visit Me On Sunday" is a small country treasure. Even "John Henry" makes an appearance (in a scintillating instrumental duet with Earl Scruggs), as does the almost as legendary George Jones in "One Woman Man." The Staples Singers' harmonies in "The Weight" approach the sublime (as the Staples Singers are wont to do).
While the album cannot boast a consistent sound, Marty Stuart has a steady and recognizable presence here and wherever he works despite lacking the outlandish sort of personality that lands other stars in the tabloids. Refugees from today's commercial country music might want to think about heading his way.
The Mugwumps, The Mugwumps
Solve for x: The Great Society is to Jefferson Airplane as x is to the Mamas and the Papas. Answer: x = The Mugwumps, the 1964 New York City-based folk-rock band that included Denny Doherty and "Mama" Cass Elliot (future Mamas and Papas), Zal Yanovsky (who subsequently co-founded the Lovin' Spoonful), and Elliot's then-husband, future Nashville songwriter Jim Hendricks. Until now, few knew of the Mugwumps except as a precursor to more important things, and perhaps from the lyrics to the autobiographical song "Creeque Alley" that the Mamas and the Papas recorded a few years later. Now their one album has been reissued by Collectors' Choice, and we can all hear the glory that was the Mugwumps.