James Blood Ulmer – Birthright — Hyena

by | Aug 29, 2005 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

James Blood Ulmer – Birthright — Hyena TMF 9335 ***: 

This disc is the first solo effort of the Southern guitar player, James
Blood Ulmer.  Although he’s been associated with free jazz and
rock, this album takes him back to his roots singing and playing the
blues in a gospel style.  The simplicity of the performance
reminds me of Muddy Waters’ Folk Singer record and early recordings by
Lightning Hopkins and other legendary blues artists.  Ulmer has a
thick, rich, slightly Southern-sounding voice and makes it work for him
with efficacy.  He digs deep into his soul and uncovers all that
lies there.  This isn’t the Devil’s music, but man’s path to

There are two cover songs on the record, but the rest of the material
is original and commands the attention of the listener.  This
isn’t music for a comfortable background listen, but an exploration of
what makes one man tick.  The performance is not typical for Ulmer
(who was nominated for a Grammy Award), but is likely to cause a
commotion in the blues community.  Others will no doubt feel free
to experiment with an approach that may not sell millions of records,
but will surely make a mark on the musical community.  Songs
included are:  Take My Music Back To The Church; I Can’t Take It
Anymore; Where Did All The Girls Come From; I Ain’t Superstitious;
White Man’s Jail; High Yellow; The Evil One; Geechee Joe; Love Dance
Rag; Sittin’ On Top Of The World; My Most Favorite Thing; Devil’s Got
To Burn.

-Brian Bloom

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