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Chris Thomas King - The Roots (2003)

W wieku 9 Chris Thomas King lat zaczął profesjonalnie grać w klubach muzycznych stolicy stanu Louizjana, Baton Rouge, w klubie prowadzonym przez ojca. Tam spotykał się z takimi legendami muzyki jak Slim Harpo, Silas Hogan, Willie Dixon, Lowell Fulson i Buddy Guy. Magazyn Rolling Stones uznał go już wtedy za spadkobiercę Jimiego Hendrixa i Howlin’ Wolfa.

Niedawno Chris Thomas King zagrał w filmie – wcielił się w rolę Tommy’ego Johnsona w nagrodzonym nagrodami Grammy filmie O Brother Where Art Thou? (jest również autorem oprawy muzycznej filmu). Płyta z muzyką z tego obrazu trafiła na szczyty notowań pisma Billboard i sprzedała się w ilości ponad 7 milionów sztuk. Została też albumem roku w ocenie tak Country Music Association jak i International Bluegrass Music Association. Chris Thomas King jest również zdobywcą kilku nagród fundacji W.C.Handy’ego – tzw. bluesowych Oscarów. Ma na swoim koncie 9 płyt.

Come In My Kitchen

Recorded and released in 2003, the "Year of the Blues," Chris Thomas King's The Roots is a tribute album of originals and covers celebrating Leadbelly, Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Son House, and Robert Johnson. With King leaving his hip-hop blues visions in the laboratory, this is a tried and true recording of traditional blues music played mostly on a lone acoustic or National steel guitar. King's performances of tunes like James' "Hard Time Killing Floor" and "Cypress Grove" may feel a little reverential, but only on first listen. King's reads of these tunes are through the eyes of a younger man who grew up with this music as a monolith. This sounds especially true of his performances of Blind Willie Johnson's (whose character he played in Wim Wenders' film Soul of a Man) "Trouble Will Soon Be Over" and Leadbelly's "CC Rider." But these songs, too, are stunning in their ghostly modern incarnations, with King's amazing voice expressing nuances in the music that went unheard in the past.

Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

But it is King's own songs that are the crowning achievements here. "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'," "Watermelon Man," "Dark Clouds," and the closer, "Raining Angels," among others, offer the true weight of the album's importance. These are modern folk-blues songs that sound as timeless and hunted as the music that came from the Delta and migrated later to Chicago. King's no academic; he's a singer with great soul and emotion and he's a writer with a keen sense not only blues history but of soul music phrasing, offering a solidly new chapter in the blues tradition. Highly recommended. --- Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

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