Lightnin' Malcolm

Renegade

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After two albums co-billed to Cedric Burnside, blues singer/guitarist Lightnin' Malcolm issues his first solo album with Renegade. He's not alone on this album, either, but drummer Cameron Kimbrough, a grandson of Junior Kimbrough, gets a "featuring" credit on the cover rather than an equal co-credit. The music is played in guitar-drums arrangements for the most part, with the occasional overdub (lead-off track "Ain't Even Worried" has an added bass part) and a few guest musicians. A three-part horn section is heard on three songs; Nadirah Shakoor sings "Precious Jewel"; and J Grubbz contributes a rap to "North Mississippi." Usually, though, it's just Malcolm and Kimbrough, with Malcolm singing in a twangy tenor of the usual female trouble experienced by bluesmen. (Titles include "So Many Women," "Guilty Man," and "My Lyin' Ass.") A line can be drawn from the North Mississippi hill country to Detroit and the music of John Lee Hooker and the White Stripes on this spare, intense music, which the musicians play with conviction.

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