Back Door

8th Street Nites

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More bass-driven brilliance, produced by the late Felix Pappalardi, former producer of Cream. Though the album is less cohesive than their debut, it soars to even greater heights with its stand-out covers of Leadbelly and Robert Johnson. These blues numbers are largely played as unaccompanied bass and vocal pieces. There's something to this unadorned combination -- the inherent grittiness of the bass matched against his voice hearkens back to the raw power of Delta blues, where it's just a guy and his crappy old guitar. On "32-20 Blues," Hodgkinson sings an old Robert Johnson number while throttling away at the bass; on the opening "Laying Track," the whole band takes on Leadbelly in a sort of restrained funkiness, with the constant thrashing of a tambourine underlining the rhythm section's punches on the downbeat.

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