Saturday, 23 July 2011

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings - Kings and Queens

Collaborative Royalty

This is a wonderful album of collaborations hosted by Canadian band Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. The guest list is entirely female, including the musical royalty of Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash, Cassandra Wilson, Patti Scialfa, Pam Tillis, and Emmylou Harris.

Opener If I Can't Have You with Lucinda Williams countryrocks in classic Buddy Miller style. Got You Covered pairs Rosanne Cash in a popish but agreeable jaunt. Cassandra Williams provides a soft and understated solo as well as harmony accompaniment in gentle 5th track Golden Sorrows. Patti Scialfa provides one of the highlights on 6th track, the Buddy Miller penned, gospel tinged Shelter Me, whilst the most beautiful and traditionally Country track is the Patty Tillis number My Town Has Moved Away which is the 7th. Emmylou Harris' contribution is on 9th track Step Away which is a Willie P. Bennett lament using Emmylou's doleful vocal to full effect.

There are 14 tracks in all and each is excellent. The singing, musicianship and occasional songwriting of the three Kings Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and Tom Wilson on this album attests to the brilliance of a folk rock/alternative country band not as well known yet infinitely superior to many of their peers. Who needs Will and Kate when you have this musical Canadian royalty?

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