Eugene Rhodes

Talkin' About My Time

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Difficult to find, this album sometimes passes for Folkways, a polite way of saying it was packaged as if someone was trying to prove the ease with which such a counterfeit could be created. Closer inspection of the logo in front reveals that it is a cheesy drawing of a Greek god type, not something that seems to have a whole lot in common with the plight of the artist featured. Blues music is full of legends of imprisoned pickers who were released on the strengths of their string-bending alone. But then there are the folks such as Eugene Rhodes, who apparently recorded this record during a prison sentence and was not only not instantly liberated due to its musical merits, but failed to make much of a name for himself when he finally did complete his ten to 25. A shame, because he is an individual stylist from a generation of wandering one-man band types, an area of country blues that sometimes crosses into sounds more associated with folk music. The true-to-life nature of this particular artist and the grit that shakes off the grooves as he jumps into "Blues Leaping From Texas," muses through "I Keep Wondering," slurps "Jelly Jelly," and inquires "Who Went out Back?" indicates this isn't Peter, Paul & Mary folk. "Fast Life" is another great track, and listening to the song while looking at the grim black-and-white photo of the artist on the front cover will create a nasty feeling in a listener's stomach. For whatever reason this fellow wound up in prison, his guitar playing and singing were excellent, delivered with an enthusiasm for music that is echoed in the bluesman's comments about his own favorite artists in the interesting but too short liner notes.

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