Byther Smith

Mississippi Kid

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The 1996 release Mississippi Kid sounds like it could have been released a quarter-century or more before, which is a compliment. Bracingly free of the rockist clich├ęs that bog down so many latter-day blues albums, Mississippi Kid is solid Chicago-style blues, with Smith's guitar and vocals supported by two organists and a full horn section. Presented as a sort of musical autobiography, with the personal title track ending the album as a kind of summation, the album dusts off a couple of Smith's earlier hits, most notably a slow, gripping version of his signature song, "Give Me My White Robe," and the playful shaggy-dog story "Blues on the Moon," given a suitably light-hearted and sly treatment. Smith is in excellent voice throughout and his playing is as fine as always, making Mississippi Kid a late highlight in his long and sometimes underappreciated career.

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