Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Dutchess AND THE Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke

Nestled in the catacombs of my music collection are a couple of artists that I love to listen to and imagine the little clubs, bars or railroad cars they use to play in. Artists like Mississippi John Hurt, Tampa Red, Brownie McGhee and Kokoms Arnold; these were the original blues, before musicians like BB King took the blues and watered it down with meaningless lyrics and long self indulgent guitar licks. These were the musicians that influenced The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and countless other musicians.

I have heard musicians try to capture the organic nature of these early blues artists... mostly in vain. Every now and then I get to hear an album like "The Dutchess AND THE Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke" that takes me back to that time when music was simple and exciting. She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke are somewhere between, Leadbelly , The Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground. The album is a sultry mix of male and female vocals, gritty guitar (pre - 70's Gibson) along with the occasional hand clap (Reservoir Park), flute (You Can Tell The Truth, Now/ Mary/ I Am Just A Ghost), harmonica and tambourine. You'll quickly fall in love with the album and wonder why.

As musicians, these two are not much to shout about. Their vocals aren't great. The guitar is simple. All the additional instrumentation is easily produced with thrift store purchased recording equipment and instruments. But maybe that is the beauty of this record, the ability to remind us that sometimes all you need is two people, a guitar, harmonica and a 4 track. So to fulfill the old saying, Less is More, I give you; The Dutchess AND THE Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke.

No comments: