Chris Thomas King

Red Mud Sessions

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Red Mud Sessions is a tweaked and reordered reissue of 1998's Red Mud, which is out of print in its original form. This version of the record omits two tracks that were a poor fit both musically and conceptually with the rest of the album, covers of songs by Chris Thomas King's father, Tabby Thomas, "Hoodoo Party" and "Bus Station Blues," which featured the elder Thomas on electric lead. Those two songs were entertaining enough, but in the context of Red Mud, they stuck out like a pair of cheeseburgers on a platter of ribs. Red Mud Sessions collects the rest of the album, which is a strictly acoustic solo recording of King and a battery of vintage resonator and metal-top guitars. King makes the connection plain by including solid but unexceptional versions of Son House's "Death Letter Blues" and a pair of Robert Johnson tracks, but even the original material sounds like King is deliberately channeling the early country blues of the '30s. It's unsurprising that not long after this album was recorded, the formerly progressive-oriented King was tapped to play a '30s-vintage bluesman in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Those who already have the original Red Mud don't need to buy Red Mud Sessions, but it's an enjoyable listen to anyone who liked King's role in that film.

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