the black keys – Chulahoma: The Songs Of Junior Kimbrough

This seven-track EP is the Akron, Ohio, blues-rock duo’s swan song for esteemed blues label Fat Possum, and, fittingly, it’s comprised entirely of songs originally written and performed by the legendary Junior Kimbrough, one of the label’s most important discoveries. Kimbrough’s hill-country blues had and enormous impact on the Keys, and they treat songs like “Meet Me in the City” and “Keep Your Hands off Her” with the reverence they deserve, while at the same time adding their own sonic embellishments to Kimbrough’s songs as a reminder that the blues is far from a stagnant form. “Have Mercy on Me,” for example, becomes a dirgy, swampy psych-blues epic as a haunting organ line and Dan Auerbach’s fractured guitar licks lead the listener down a wonderfully dark musical back road. This brief, loving tip of the cap is a fitting reminder that as the form’s finest practitioners continue to pass away, the blues itself is still kicking hard.

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