The Crooked Jades simultaneously released two albums on Copper Creek records, relieving reviewers of writing about the group's "sophomore" effort. The Unfortunate Rake, Vol. 1 mixes old-time music with alternative country, at times capturing the world-weariness of an acoustic Uncle Tupelo set. This connection proves especially apt on Jeff Kazor-led vocals like "Candy" and "Fly Around (My Pretty Little Miss)." Cuts like "Diamond Joe" and "Liza Jane," however, cling closer to the string band tradition. Though released in close proximity to Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait, The Unfortunate Rake, Vol. 1 varies a great deal from the earlier-recorded album. First, Kazor seems to take a larger role in the proceedings, singing the greatest number of leads. His vocals, along with those of Richard Buckner and Tom Lucas, leave less room for the generous mix of female vocals that graced Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait. The presence of fiddler Adam Tanner also adds a new dimension to The Unfortunate Rake, Vol. 1, giving the instrumental work a vigorous quality. Pieces like Lisa Berman and Martha Hawthorne's "Lonely Grave (On a Hillside)" hark back to Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait, but they are exceptions. The listener is left with two versions of the Crooked Jades and two good, though different, albums. Both will appeal to fans of old-time music, while The Unfortunate Rake, Vol. 1 will also appeal to alternative country listeners.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.