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Back Home In Sulphur Springs

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Album Review

Norman and Nancy Blake return to their roots on Back Home in Sulphur Springs, recalling Norman Blake's first album in 1972, Home in Sulphur Springs. Not that the couple ever strayed from their roots, but call it a spiritual homecoming. The main difference is that Norman Blake is joined by Nancy Blake this time, and that this album actually has a song on it that refers to Sulphur Springs. The Blakes' sound and production is simple and straightforward, the perfect approach for old-timey favorites like "Columbus Stockade Blues" and "More Good Women Gone Wrong." Between the two of them, the Blakes play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, and cello, allowing for a great deal of elasticity in arrangements. Norman Blake sings lead while Nancy Blake adds her harmony to the choruses of songs like "The Girl I Left in Sunny Tennessee" and "Happy Little Home in Arkansas." The joy of Back Home in Sulphur Springs, as with all of the Blakes' solo and joint projects, is their off-the-cuff, non-pretentious manner. No, they're not the latest, hot string band who work hard to prove their authenticity. Norman and Nancy Blake just do what they do, and one imagines that the couple's live performances aren't a heck of a lot different than the music on Back Home in Sulphur Springs. For fans and anyone who wants to hear neo- old-timey music done right, Back Home in Sulphur Springs is the real deal. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

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