Friday, 25 January 2008

CD Review - Jim Murray

My Time To Be Alone
Jim Murray

This collection of pre-war Blues makes for a pleasant but undistinguished CD. It features fine acoustic guitar work – old-timey, relaxed, but remarkably proficient.

It’s the solo debut for Murray, a long-time sideman in his mid-50s. “I now feel for the first time that I have something to say solo,” he writes in the liner notes.

Well, not really, other than that pre-war Blues is great music. He includes chestnuts from Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson and others. But do Blues aficionados really need another faithful rendition of ‘32-20 Blues’?

And, despite the different songwriters covered, there’s a sameness to Murray’s vocals. He uses a variety of guitars, but there’s a sameness in his picking, too. One wishes he’d found a friend who could play harmonica on a couple of cuts, just for a different sound.

Murray apologises in the liner notes for not reproducing each note exactly as it was first recorded. But he should deviate from the originals more, not less. This is the Blues, for Pete’s sake.

Let’s not be too harsh: This is not a bad album. It’s a nice record to put on, maybe when you’ve got friends over for conversation. But pretty soon you’ll forget which song you’re listening to. And you’ll probably have to pick up the CD case to figure it out.

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