Jerry Ricks

Many Miles of Blues

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Ricks' second outing continues down the same dirt path as his late-coming 1997 U.S. debut. Ricks' renditions of songs made famous by legendary acoustic bluesmen like Furry Lewis, Skip James, and Mississippi John Hurt testify to his respect for tradition, while his original tunes speak to this era as well as the past. Whether he's picking a syncopated Piedmont-style rag or strumming a soulful minor-key ballad, Ricks' performances are relaxed and true to the songs. His version of "Special Rider Blues" sounds as personal as James' original recording from the '30s. His sprightly takes on Hurt's "Keep on Knocking" and "Louis Collins" serve as a reminder that Ricks was key in helping to create an audience for rediscovered country-blues artists during the folk music revival of the early '60s. More than a little of what this Philadelphia native learned from his elderly, Delta-born mentors remains evident nearly 40 years later in Ricks' gritty, authentic originals, "Missouri River Blues" and "No More Ramblin" -- just in time for another generation of acoustic blues fans.

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