Wednesday, March 3, 1999

Blues implosion

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 1999 at 12:00 AM

You Better Keep Still, the sophomore album from singer-guitarist T-Model Ford, is all about the way Mississippi blues mud allegedly sticks to hipster trash-rock, á la great pretender Jon Spencer’s collaborations with Delta musician R.L. Burnside. Great concept on paper, but the recorded results are, in three words, dull, monotonous and boring. Ford, 77, goes it alone on "Look What All You Got," hooking two lines of lyrics to squiggly electric strumming and picking; a new arrangement of "The Old Number," a traditional; and the achy-breaky heart hurt of "If I Had Wings (Part 2)." Spam the drummer adds spunky thwack, slamming with abandon to match the fuzzy distortion of his boss on the one-chord vamp "Here Comes Papa." Our man on skins drops a snappy shuffle behind Ford’s ramblings on "We Don’t Understand" and "These Eyes," the latter of which includes really annoying falsetto declarations. "Pop Pop Pop" revises the formula with perky electronic touches, inventive sampling and nifty hip-hop breaks. But it’s too little, too late.

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