Doug Cox and Salil Bhatt: Slide to Freedom 2 (Northern Blues)

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Dog Cox and Salil Bhatt: Blessings
Doug Cox and Salil Bhatt: Slide to Freedom 2 (Northern Blues)

Slide guitarist Cox from Canada and Indian veena player Bhatt appeared at Elsewhere a couple of years back with the first of their Indo-blues crossover albums, Slide to Freedom.

And Cox reappeared with a fine compilation album Without Words of some of his instrumentals.

For this sequel to Slide to Freedom, he and Bhatt have brought in New Orleans singer John Boutte whose soulful and high voice slips in neatly on Make A Better World, their overhaul of Dan Hicks' I Scare Myself and George Harrison's lightweight but pleasant For You Blue. He works to lesser effect on an affected Amazing Grace which wrings emotion ("Amaaa -zzzzing grace").

The highpoints here however are the three instrumentals A Letter Home, Blessings and The Moods of Madhuvanti where Cox and Bhatt foil with each other on music which stretches toward the 10 minute mark and you can hear a real musical dialogue between East and West.

Underpinned by tabla from Ramkumar Mishra back from the first album (as is Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on For You Blue), and with bassist Dinah D in a couple of places, this has more musical breadth than the first under this title, but is at its finest when the focus is on the frontline players coming from different backgrounds to find a common musical language which is stateless but quite gripping.

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