The Fieldstones

Mud Island Blues

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The Fieldstones are something of a local legend in Memphis, and this, their second album, was a very long time coming. Its content was recorded at various times and in various places between 1981 and 1983, and the songs feature a shifting array of personnel. Lead vocals are handled alternately by Little Applewhite, Willie Roy Sanders, and drummer Joe Hicks; the constant core of the band consists of Hicks, bassist Lois Brown, and keyboardist Bobby Carnes. The Fieldstones' sound is raw but compelling, at least when someone other than Little Applewhite is singing -- he can't seem to carry a tune, which is especially obvious on the excruciating "Loving Blues." He does a bit better with "Hand Me Down My Shotgun," and songs like "Movin' Out" (which features Hicks' vocals) and the traditional "Cross Cut Saw" (featuring Willie Roy Sanders in a rough and heartfelt performance) work even better. The sound quality on these recordings is quite good, and the rawness of the material only enhances its emotional power. Recommended.

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