City Slang: Weekly music review roundup

Remember – if you send it, it will get reviewed. That’s the City Slang promise. It doesn’t matter what genre the music is – as long as it has a Metro Detroit connection, it’ll get in. Preferably, we’d like to concentrate on new releases but, while we’re getting warmed up here, feel free to send back catalog material too. Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, City Slang, Metro Times, 733, St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 46226. Email MP3s and streaming links to [email protected].

Mississippi blues man R.L. Burnside may be eight years gone now, but his spirit is alive and well thanks in part to the good people at Fat Possum Records. A Bothered Mind is the latest album of remixed material put out by the label, produced in this case by our own Tino Gross of the Howling Diablos (hence the Detroit link). This is a beautiful album too, full of the sort of dirty blues that grabbed Jon Spencer’s attention years ago. Gross has added subtle funk and a dirty groove throughout that only serves to compliment Burnsides husky, and much missed, voice. Plus, Kid Rock’s appearance on “My Name is Robert Too” is good for a good-hearted chuckle. An amazing record.

Another Tino Gross-produced record comes in the shape of the Royal Blackbirds’ self-titled EP from Funky D Records. These youngsters are obviously soaking up everything that Gross has to teach too – there’s a cover of Them’s “I Can Only Give You Everything” (famously covered by the MC5 among others) on here, and it doesn’t sound at all cack-handed in the mitts of this band despite their tender ages. Rather, the Royal Blackbirds sound far weightier than their years should allow. There’s room for growth, as one would hope, but there’s the potential for a great band here. Right now, we have a very good one.

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