A New Spin on Some Blues Classics

Putumayo Presents: Blues Lounge (Putumayo World Music)
Various Artists

By Larry Alexander

Putamayo has created a genuine niche in the CD market. To this point, I have listened with only minimal interest -- one or two plays and the CD would go up on the shelf, banished until the event of a Putamayo revival.

Enter Blues Lounge.

I played this CD repeatedly for the first three days since it came to me. It is touted as an innovative collection of classic blues tracks remixed by leading electronica DJs and producers. Little Axe with "Midnight Dream" initiates the listener with an electronic percussion attack on a classic. The rhythm sells the cut with great vocal overlay.

Tangle Eye offers a magical rendition of "John Henry's Blues" -- what a unique approach. Tangle Eye follows up with "Parchman Blues," just groovin' to the story with the horns setting the tone. Little Axe spins "Long Way to Go" with a little new age feel to give an incredible effect on the big speakers. Boozoo Bajou with Wayne Martin takes "Camioux" to a new level by mixing a gritty voice with rocking electronica. "Camioux," in particular, represents the characteristic of this CD with a blues mood and a sound experience. "Pablo's Blues" by Gare du Nord is simply beautifully composed and sung. The simplicity of the musical backup is the cornerstone of this composition.

This one won't end up on the shelf. It is a true mood setter: a rocking chair, your favorite beverage, a cool night with a breeze blowing your true love's scent in your direction, and Blues Lounge. Pretty soon you'll be up off of the rocking chair and swaying to the music. It just doesn't get any better.