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Rory Block - Blues Walkin Like A Man

Stony Plain Records

As she did on her last release The Lady and Mr. Johnson, Rory Block continues to embrace country blues traditions. Her latest outing Blues Walkin Like A Man celebrates the music of Son House who was just as important as Robert Johnson.

Meeting Son House in 1965 when she was just fifteen had a profound effect. Even Son House himself was astounded that a teenage girl could play a Willie Brown song with great assurance. It just didnt seem possible.

Cutting an entire cd of Son House songs is an undaunting risk. Rory manages to pull it off without losing the authenticity of these blues classics. Songs that are cloaked in the mystery of jukejoints, empty whiskey bottles and the hobo jungles of locomotive trains.

Vocal overdubbing is sparse. When it does appear on "I Want To Go Home On The Morning Train" and "Dry Spell Blues," the feeling is of being in a Baptist church then a recording studio. Block's slide playing is a toxic rhythm oil giving "Preachin Blues" its salvatory splendor. "My Black Mama" is a graveyard mojo of Block standing at the crossroads wearing a long black veil.

Rory can sing gospel with the best of them. "Grinnin In Your Face" is a haunting accapella. "Death Letter" is sinister in spirit with Block's aggressive acoustic attack.

If you are looking for a time portal to go back into the era of levee camps and field hollers, where true acoustic blues predated electricity, Rory Block can take you there. It can only enrich your life.

Review by Gary Weeks

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