Half Notes: Eli Cook – Ace, Jack and King (2011)

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An album that starts with this sparks-flying slide, on a song called “Death Rattle,” isn’t fooling around. This, friends, will never be confused with fern-bar blues. That’s obvious, even before Cook opens his mouth to sing — in a voice that’s one part gravel, one part Jack Black and one part shot-gun rows of deep-south dust. Particularly intriguing were a pair of covers of old Skip James tunes, beginning with “Catfish Blues,” a desperate escapist plea. Cook brilliantly downshifts, upping the ante on the original lyric’s slow-burning insistence. Later, he plugs back in for a reverb-soaked take on James’ murder ballad “Crow Jane,” but approaches it with the ominous stomping rhythm of a Zeppelin blues. It invites a similar, almost primitive dread, too.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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