The Roots: The Soul of Chris Thomas King

The Roots: The Soul of Chris Thomas King

by Chris Thomas King


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Recorded and released in 2003, the "Year of the Blues", Chris Thomas King's The Roots is a tribute album of originals and covers celebrating Leadbelly, Skip James, Blind Willie Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Son House, and Robert Johnson. With King leaving his hip-hop blues visions in the laboratory, this is a tried and true recording of traditional blues music played mostly on a lone acoustic or National steel guitar. King's performances of tunes like James' "Hard Time Killing Floor" and "Cypress Grove" may feel a little reverential, but only on first listen. King's reads of these tunes are through the eyes of a younger man who grew up with this music as a monolith. This sounds especially true of his performances of Blind Willie Johnson's (whose character he played in Wim Wenders' film Soul of a Man) "Trouble Will Soon Be Over" and Leadbelly's "CC Rider." But these songs, too, are stunning in their ghostly modern incarnations, with King's amazing voice expressing nuances in the music that went unheard in the past. But it is King's own songs that are the crowning achievements here. "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'," "Watermelon Man," "Dark Clouds," and the closer, "Raining Angels," among others, offer the true weight of the album's importance. These are modern folk-blues songs that sound as timeless and hunted as the music that came from the Delta and migrated later to Chicago. King's no academic; he's a singer with great soul and emotion and he's a writer with a keen sense not only blues history but of soul music phrasing, offering a solidly new chapter in the blues tradition. Highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/16/2003
Label: 21st Century Blues
UPC: 0676261210726
catalogNumber: 2107

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chris Thomas   Primary Artist,Vocals
James Cotton   Harmonica
Charles Elam   Background Vocals
Lisa Foster   Background Vocals
Sharon Foster   Background Vocals
Darryl White   Drums
Earl J. Smith   Background Vocals
Monique Moss   Actress

Technical Credits

Skip James   Composer
Blind Willie Johnson   Composer
Lead Belly   Composer
Hammond Scott   Producer
Son House   Composer
Robert "P-Nut" Johnson   Composer
John Snyder   Producer
Nauman S. Scott   Producer
Chris Thomas   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Matt Coby   Engineer
William Barth   Engineer
Dave Ferrel   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Lionel Milton   Logo Design
Timothy Obeck   Engineer

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