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Album Review

Paul Rishell and Annie Raines seems to have a bad case of the blues on Goin' Home, which is good news for the listener. While the album kicks off with two originals, most of the material is drawn from classic blues players like Charley Patton, Ma Rainey, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Rishell handles most of the vocals and guitar work, and the arrangements vary from stripped-down acoustic to full-band electric. Raines, on the other hand, specializes in the blues harp and helps out — from time to time — on background vocals. As a team, Rishell and Raines are what one might expect if Roy Book Binder and Rory Block teamed up. The most exciting work on Goin' Home is acoustic. There are fine versions of Jefferson's "Black Horse Blues" and Rainey's "Black Eye Blues." The latter song is the rare piece sung by Raines, and it's shameful she's not given more leads on the album. There's also a fun version of the randy Fulton Allen song, "Custard Pie," though the performance here reveals the album's Achilles' heel. Rishell's a good singer, but his vocals lack the raw authenticity of a singer like Sonny Terry. While Goin' Home may be too eclectic for its own good, it's likely that many blues fans will find Rishell and Raines' varied approach refreshing. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Goin' Home, Annie Raines
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