Energy and Sympathy
Former Old Grow Medicine Show member Willie Watson with banjo and guitar and Dave Rawlings on production goes nearly solo on a wonderful set of traditional songs, his vocal a warbling high tenor of energy.
John Henry, for example, is simply banjo and voice and pace; Leavin’ Blues is a guitar-picked gem where that voice soars at such a height your body rises with it, right above the lament: I got holes in my pocket mama sung with infectious rise and fall.
Opener Samson and Delilah has The Fairfield Four adding gospel harmonies to the delightful mix [accompanying wonderfully on two more]; second Gallows Pole is guitar and harmonica and darkness, a backing orchestration joining in, and eighth Ry Cooder’s Always Lift Him Up and Never Knock Him Down gets a beautiful cover, sweet flutes in sympathy. There is so much more of all of this and it is superb.