K.K. Martin

Naked Blues

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When it comes to the blues, you can't always judge a book by its cover. Bluesmen who fit K.K. Martin's description (young, white, long hair) usually play electric blues-rock; looking at Martin's picture on the cover of Naked Blues, one might expect something along the lines of Stevie Ray Vaughan or Johnny Winter. But in fact, Naked Blues is primarily an album of acoustic Mississippi-style country-blues. Much of the time, this CD recalls the Delta blues of the 1920s and 1930s -- the Delta influence comes through on Martin's own songs as well as spare, minimalist performances of Sleepy John Estes' "Drop Down Mama," Mississippi John Hurt's "Angels Laid Him Away," and Robert Johnson's "3220 Blues." Occasionally, the singer/acoustic guitarist gets away from outright blues, acknowledging early New Orleans jazz on Joe Primrose's "St. James' Infirmary" and gospel on the traditional "I Shall Not Be Moved." But for the most part, Martin sticks to a Delta blues approach. Although Martin's vocals aren't fantastic, he gets his points across -- and his slide guitar playing is quite faithful to the spirit of pre-World War II country-blues. Naked Blues isn't mind-blowing, but it's a competent, fairly pleasant effort.

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