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Miss Blues'es Child

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Album Review

The white blues performers of the 1960s desperately wanted to sound like 65-year-old sharecroppers. Young Eli Cook manages that trick without trying, with a deep voice that sounds as old as the hills. On this blues album, a mix of his good originals and some traditional material and standards, he shows himself to be a performer of great talent, if not quite the finished article yet. His guitar playing is fair, but not quite as accomplished as it seems (reverb can hide a lot), but he has a very strong sense of arrangement, whether singing unaccompanied, as on "Grinnin' in Your Face" or letting rip like Mississippi hill juke joint music on "Fixin' to Die." Largely solo, a couple of tracks add a well-frailed banjo, making for what's essentially an excellent country blues experience, but the star of the show throughout is his voice. Natural and convincing, he has what it takes to be the best blues singer of his generation if he keeps on doing what he's doing and works more on the guitar. As this sophomore effort shows, the potential is huge — he just hasn't realized it all yet.

Miss Blues'es Child, Eli Cook
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