Chris Smither

Don't It Drag On

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With his debut, I'm a Stranger Too!, Chris Smither had already proven himself to be a rare combination -- a Cambridge folkie with roots in New Orleans, a great writer who knows when to look elsewhere for material, a masterful guitarist who understands simplicity and a powerful singer with restraint. Released in 1972, Don't It Drag On continues this mix and is every bit as good as its predecessor, maybe better. Smither's folk-blues have a soul and intelligence that mesh well with current covers by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead, yet seems as ageless as Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues" (also included here). Tracks such as "Another Way to Find You," "I've Got Mine" and "Lonesome Georgia Brown" are as enduring as contemporary blues and folk get. And while the bulk of Smither's material has a ruminative, melancholic tone, don't expect typical singer/songwriter fare. There's a maturity and depth to songs such as "I Feel the Same" (also recorded by Bonnie Raitt), "Every Mother's Son" and the title cut that's beyond that of most of his peers. Smither's originals may not have the energy of "Statesboro Blues" or Dylan's "Down in the Flood," but there's an easy, rolling assurance and plainspoken eloquence at work that more than make up for it. Smither went on to record one more album for Poppy, but was dropped by the label before its release. The record, Honeysuckle Dog, remained in the vaults for over 30 years before being issued in 2004. Don't It Drag On, which was re-released in 1997 as part of a two-fer with his debut, I'm a Stranger Too!, would be his last until It Ain't Easy in 1985.

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