Mark Lanegan I’ll Take Care Of You

Screaming Trees crooner Mark Lanegan has proven himself as a passionate solo artist with three brilliant albums of dark, gothic Americana released over the last decade. Now, only a year after Scraps at Midnight, his most sombre offering to date, Lanegan unveils a spectacular album of covers demonstrating his deft interpretative ability. As with any of Lanegan’s projects, his gorgeously timbered deep voice commands an enrapturing power. Accompanied by sparse, yet stunning arrangements including vibes, organ, flute and plenty of quivering guitar, I’ll Take Care Of You casts an intoxicating spell that wraps around Lanegan’s warm lush vocals. The tasteful musicianship comes courtesy of a wide array of performers, including Van Conner (Screaming Trees), Barrett Martin (Tuatara, Screaming Trees), Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden), Mike Johnson (Dino Jr.) and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos). The artists being covered here are equally noteworthy. The album opens with a track by a fellow drug abuser who recently passed away, Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the Gun Club. “Carry Home” is a true homage to a great artist who came from similar punk roots and ultimately found a voice in American roots music. Like many of the tracks on this album, Lanegan’s performance and the delicate instrumentation transcends the original material, taking on a truly beautiful aura. A perfect example is “Creaping Coastline of Lights” by the Leaving Trains who were a band never capable of much subtlety on their own recordings. The album peaks with a couple of pop numbers: Fred Neil’s “Ba De Da” (Neil is best known for the track “Everybody’s Talking” from the movie Midnight Cowboy) and the elegant rendition of “Consider Me” by Eddie Floyd and Booker T. Jones, Jr. The overall vibe on this record is much like Elvis Costello’s Almost Blue, which makes one wonder if a Bacharach collaboration can be that far off. (Sub Pop)