Steve Earle and the Dukes: Terraplane (New West/Warners)

 |   |  <1 min read

Steve Earle: The Tennessee Kid
Steve Earle and the Dukes: Terraplane (New West/Warners)

The only surprising thing about Earle making a blues album – given he's done rock, country, folk and bluegrass – is that it took him so long.

As a Texan where the tough electric players and Lightnin' Hopkins' backporch acoustic style came from, blues was certainly in his blood.

And these songs – many written while back-packing around Europe by himself, presumably after the break-up of his most recent marriage – are within the broad landscape of blues.

You could imagine ol' Lightnin' doing You're the Best Lover That I Ever Had (see clip below), and the brooding, raw electric Tennessee Kid here conjures up Dylan, Beat poets and the spook-spirit of Robert Johnson – who wrote Terraplane Blues – as Earle sings of one who makes a pact with the Devil.

It, the gritty King of the Blues and the bleak break-up song Better Off Alone, are the best among the 11 here.

But Baby Baby Baby, Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now and The Usual Time are little more than genre pieces riding familiar blues grooves.

So, a patchy collection exploring different styles of blues which will nonetheless appeal to Earle loyalists, but leave casual listeners indifferent.

For reviews of many earlier Steve Earle albums and interviews see here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

Although their peers like the Rolling Stones, the Downliner Sect and Pretty Things were more profoundly influenced by black American music, the Beatles certainly drew on that deep well. In... > Read more

Ray LaMontagne: Gossip in the Grain (SonyBMG)

Ray LaMontagne: Gossip in the Grain (SonyBMG)

Frankly, after his last album - the excellent Till the Sun Turns Black which was acclaimed at Elsewhere and probably elsewhere - this is a little disappointing, but not in the way you might think.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

McCoy Tyner: Guitars (Half Note)

McCoy Tyner: Guitars (Half Note)

This jazz giant will be 70 in December 2008 and can reflect on playing piano with the likes of John Coltrane in the 60s then a multi-faceted career as a leader, assimilator of world music... > Read more

JOHN LENNON INTERVIEWED (1995): I hear you knocking

JOHN LENNON INTERVIEWED (1995): I hear you knocking

Former mop-topped pop singer and dead megastar John Lennon has given a “thumbs up” to the latest Beatle single Free as a Bird which his former chums in the band have released.... > Read more