Netherlands drummer Han Bennink and American guitarist Eugene Chadbourne share a similar approach to the live concert, each playing continuous sets of alternating free improv moments and strange renditions of songs from the jazz, pop, rock, and country repertoires. Hearing them playing together sounds natural to anyone used to the music of either. Yet, 21 Years Later (Train Kept a Rollin') adds little to their discographies. Bennink remains surprisingly discreet, letting Chadbourne lead the way. His playing doesn't push the guitarist to extremes as much as Paul Lovens, another regular collaborator. Short segments of free improvisation (all titled "x Years Later" -- no, there aren't 21 of them) are interspersed among pages from the guitarist's usual songbook. Some of these pieces were released on the superior two-CD set Young at Heart/Forgiven (with Lovens) in 2000 and the comical 2001 album Motorhellington with the Italian quartet Zu (namely the cover versions of Motorhead's "Sacrifice" and Jobim's "Corcovado"). The only concession made to Bennink is the short "Miss Ann" by Eric Dolphy. Everything else is pure Chadbourne, especially proficient on vocals this time around. The sound quality would be quite good if it weren't for the fact that whenever the guitarist hits his distortion pedal the volume of his instrument drops below the drums. 21 Years Later is an honest record, enjoyable mostly for fans of the Doctor, even though it brings nothing new to the table.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture