Arlo Guthrie

Son of the Wind

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For Arlo Guthrie to make an album of Western folk music makes a lot of sense. The form has always accepted artists who made up for their lack of technical brilliance with interpretive skill, which describes Arlo's appeal as well as words can. Sure enough, the combination of singer and style is a winner, even though Arlo is in worse voice than usual on some cuts. For his renditions of "Buffalo Gals" and "The Gal I Left Behind," he adopts a high-pitched, nasal tone that sounds almost like the distinctive style of Louisiana Cajun singers. This fits both songs and was obviously deliberate, since he is in fine voice on "I Ride an Old Paint" and "Utah Carroll." Arlo has fine backing throughout from a group of session veterans who play in a style untouched by modern ideas, which gives this CD the sound of much older recordings. That, too, is fitting. Son of the Wind is the sound of Arlo Guthrie revisiting his roots, both literally in the form of his father's songs and figuratively in the setting of those songs, the dusty plains of the American West. It's a splendid combination and one of his better albums.

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