Jack Rose with D. Charles Speer & The Helix Ragged And Right

Although in his final years the late Jack Rose was primarily known as an acoustic guitar virtuoso, in the style of John Fahey and Robbie Basho, on these four songs recorded in spring 2008, with then-touring partners Speer & the Helix, he clearly demonstrates a love of more standard country and blues forms. In the process of applying his skills to the band's built-in chemistry, Rose shows a side of his musical personality that, sadly, he didn't get to explore any further. Fans should therefore feel fortunate to have these exciting 17 minutes available for posterity. The overall looseness of the session was inspired by Link Wray's early '70s shack recordings, as evidenced by the versions of his "Prison Song" and the rocking arrangement of the traditional "In The Pines." But there's also plenty of heart and soul in Rose's delivery of Merle Haggard's "The Longer You Wait," and the instrumental "Linden Avenue Stomp," the only track that sounds like a typical Rose piece. It's all over too soon though, just like Rose's all-too-brief life. (Thrill Jockey)