The tour to support 2002's Whiskey Store album featuring guitarists Jimmy Thackery and Tab Benoit is captured here in all of its raging six-string glory. Not just for those who own the studio album, this disc repeats six tracks, but they are overhauled and extended so radically (the title cut is nearly tripled in length to a nine-minute blowout), that it's far from a cash-generating retread. Although the formidable Double Trouble rhythm section stayed home, road tested Thackery's saxist Jimmy Carpenter jumps aboard, as does B-3 keyboardist Ken Faltinson, and both ignite the concert sparks substantially…
Soul Brother has given us a long overdue compilation of Gary Bartz's experimental jazz material from the 1970s, beginning with his classic Harlem Bush Music albums, Taifa and Uhuru from 1970 and 1971, with his band NTU Troop. While it's impossible to overstate the influence his brief tenure with Miles Davis had on him (Bartz is featured on the Live-Evil recordings), the saxophonist and composer was exploring other avenues of creative black music as well, from funk to soul to the blues. The 12 cuts here begin with the sublime "Celestial Blues," from that seminal NTU Troop debut set.
At the time these tracks were cut, 1967 and 1968, R.L. Burnside was working on a plantation in Coldwater, MS, cutting silage. Folklorist George Mitchell was on a mission to record unknown blues singers down South. Mitchell heard about Burnside and paid him a visit, asking if he could record him. That night Mitchell returned to Burnside's place with a case of beer and some whiskey. Ten months later, Burnside had his first release. While these 14 tracks didn't jump start Burnside's career, they are stark, organic, and timeless, just Burnside and his acoustic guitar running down mainly traditional material that he arranged. This is an absolute treasure for Burnside aficionados and casual blues listeners alike.
Back in the 1970s Hawkwind set the template for powerhouse Spacerock and now Litmus have brought it up to date for the 21st century. Not a tribute band as such, but at times sailing dangerously close with material that would not have sounded out of place at a Lemmy-era Hawkwind gig - a heady cocktail of piledriver riffs that splatter your senses to the four winds, a cornucopia of cosmic noise to enhance the 'trip' into other worlds, and searing lead guitar runs the Captain can only dream of. A veritable sonic attack, that has appeared at Hawkfests and often gigged with Space Ritual in a mind-bending audio-visual extravaganza. Overall, Litmus is an excellent example of classic Spacerock and an essential purchase for all lovers of the genre.