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Treasures & Tears

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker

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Album Review

Those listening to Leadbelly for the first time might find themselves asking, "Is he rural blues or is he folk?"—and truth be told, he is both. Similarly, Treasures and Tears is a CD that has as much to do with acoustic country blues as it does with folk. Forming a duo, the interracial team of singer/acoustic guitarist James "Sparky" Rucker and harmonica player Rhonda Rucker offer a variety of original material and classics by other artists on this earthy, unpretentious effort. Sparky's "Buffalo Soldier Suite" and an attractive arrangement of "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho" are pure folk, but the couple ventures into southern blues territory on Sparky's "Footprints on the Ceiling" and interpretations of W.C. Handy's "Careless Love" and Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee's "Stranger Blues." Meanwhile, "Louise McGhee/Death Letter Blues" is a tribute to Son House, one of the heavyweights of Mississippi Delta blues. Although not well-known, this album is worth searching for.

Treasures & Tears, Sparky & Rhonda Rucker
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