Chris Whitley & Jeff Lang Dislocation Blues

The death of singer/guitarist Chris Whitley in November 2005 was a huge loss, but even sadder was how the music media virtually ignored it. Whitley’s dark country blues visions never failed to move, whether in an acoustic setting (Dirt Floor) or with a full-on power trio (Din Of Ecstasy), making his talents often beyond categorisation. Dislocation Blues, recorded six months before his death, and featuring Australian slide guitarist Jeff Lang and his rhythm section, is the final testament to Whitley’s spooky glory. Awash in Delta hoodoo, the pair weave their way through a mix of each other’s originals and some well-chosen covers ("Stagger Lee,” Dylan’s "Changing Of The Guard”). Whitley’s influence is clearly strong in Lang’s own approach and each plays off the other with the ease and generosity of old friends sitting on the back porch. This energy actually gives Dislocation Blues an edge over Whitley’s previous covers-heavy collaboration, 2000’s Perfect Day. But while it may provide fans with a proper send-off — the closing hidden track is appropriately, Robert Johnson’s "Hellhound On My Trail” — the fact that there will be no more new recordings by Whitley remains the permanent cloud hanging over this dark jewel of an album. (Rounder)