Rory Block’s Hard Luck Child is an album that you makes you feel good, despite the sometimes tragic lyrical content.
Although this is Block’s fifth in her blues mentor series, for some reason her take on the Skip James material offers hope.
James’s lyrics have always been open to interpretation and everyone who has jammed any of his songs have always included their own take on them.
Block has a innate feel to what she sings.
You almost feel a kind of comfort even in the lonesome Cypress Grove Blues “I would rather be buried 6 feet in my grave, than be treated this way”
Heck, Hard Time Killing Floor Blues could be about the hard times of 2014 “If you say you got money, you better be sure, cuz these hard times will drive you from door to door”
Block’s take on I’m So Glad is one of the best versions I have heard period.
Again there is joy in these blues.
This is exactly what great blues brings.
People somehow have forgot this essential fact.
Another standout is the very special guitar and soulful take on Special Rider Blues.
In fact, the overdubs sound almost “blues orchestral” if there is such a thing.
Captivating, soulful, intimate and in the end this is music that opens up your world.
JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media contributor. JOHN also fronts his own blues rock band THE SHAFTMEN
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