The Return of Rico Bell, the debut solo album from the Mekons' vocalist and accordion player, is a splendidly rollicking set of roots music. On this album, Memphis soul collides with Celtic strains and then hurtles headlong into Appalachian high lonesomeness -- with everything underpinned by Bell's ragged, Dylan-at-the-medicine-show pipes and wheezing accordion. Bell's Mekon colleague, Jon Langford, produces the effort and lays down some typically barbed-wire guitar work as well. Some highlights here include a bouncy, accordion-laced cover of Merle Haggard's "Lonesome Fugitive"; the searing, bruised beauty of "Devil's Dream" (bolstered by Langford's jagged guitar); and a slow-burning run through "Acadian Driftwood" (originally popularized by the Band).
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AllMusic Review by Erik Hage