Quick Spins: Robert Randolph, Chrissie Hynde and Valve Bone Woe

Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Brighter Days (Mascot)

www.robertrandolph.net

As many musicians know, mastering the pedal steel guitar is no small feat. It is deceptively complicated, and is mastered by few. Robert Randolph is one of the few, getting the call whenever the likes of Eric Clapton need that certain something.

New Jersey native Randolph blends several different genres, the most prevalent being blues and soul. “Baptise Me” is a tight bit of late-70’s funk, followed by “Don’t Fight It,” a Gospel jumper if there ever was one. Randolph’s rough and ready vocals are only second to his fluid guitar lines, which perfectly season every one of these tunes. Highly recommended.

Chrissie Hynde & Valve

Bone Woe Ensemble

Valve Bone Woe (BMG)

www.chrissiehynde.com

This is the jazzy pop record that rocker Chrissie Hynde has always threatened to make. Focusing on the late 1950’s through the early 1960’s, it’s a pleasant record that isn’t overly fussy, which is welcome relief these days. She has an emotional voice, which  lends its own beauty, as well as its own flaws.

The Kinks’ “No Return” sounds even more samba-like than the original, and Brian Wilson’s “Caroline, No” gets turned into a sultry torch song. Sinatra’s “I’m A Fool To Love You” takes on a whole new elegance in Hynde’s hands. This is a very special moment in a long and fascinating career.

 

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