Ellen McIlwaine

Spontaneous Combustion

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Rarely has an album title so captured the essence of a performer. Ever restless and eager to expand her musical horizons, this fiery slide guitar star burns with an unquenchable inner flame, which crackles on the electrifying title track. "Mockingbird," one of two duets with Taj Mahal, gets an expected reggae treatment to open, but McIlwaine also raises the roof with some wild Middle Eastern sounds on "Sidu (Grandmother)" and the album-closing "Egyptian Blues (True Mummy Theme)." This, her second straight release on the same German label, is a strong and versatile effort that is well worth a search.

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