Tarbox Ramblers A Fix Back East

Tarbox Ramblers A Fix Back East
For all their accomplishments, probably the most important thing the White Stripes have done is be the torchbearers of American blues and country for their generation. This fact has also opened the door for bands like the Tarbox Ramblers, who would have similarly been up to the task, had they been given equal opportunities. This second album from the Boston quartet smoulders from the first raunchy notes out of Michael Tarbox’s slide guitar and proceeds to journey back deep into their vision of a bygone, backwoods America. While Jack White worships at the altar of Son House, Tarbox’s saviour is clearly Dock Boggs (whose "Country Blues” is covered here with expected venom). There are also nods to John Lee Hooker ("Honey Babe”) and the Carter Family ("No Night There”) along the way, but while homage must be paid, it isn’t at the expense of the band’s raw performances. The Ramblers’ secret weapon is fiddler Daniel Kellar, whose spooky, sweeping lines are the perfect complement to Tarbox’s unhinged guitar playing. The band also chose the perfect producer in Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, whose use of echo evokes a vintage warmth, while at the same time providing more guts than most so-called "rock” records being made right now. The Tarbox Ramblers may not have the savvy to follow the White Stripes into the mainstream, but A Fix Back East is another important testament to the legacy of the early 20th century American songbook in this current era. (Rounder)