Tracy Nelson

Deep Are the Roots

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Tracy Nelson's debut album was very much in the traditional acoustic folk-blues style, without any of the rock influence that would enter her work when she joined Mother Earth. Vocally, Nelson (who also plays guitar and piano on the disc) took inspiration from early female blues singers Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith (both of whose songs are covered on the album), also interpreting some familiar early blues standards like "Candy Man" and "Baby Please Don't Go." Nelson's singing is already mature at this point, and the record isn't as dry as many other traditional folk albums from the 1960s, since she uses other musicians on guitar, piano, and harmonica to fill out the sound, harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite being the most notable of these. Her version of "House of the Rising Sun" is pretty interesting, since it uses a melody totally different from the one played by the Animals and numerous folk musicians of the era.

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