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Bought For A Dollar Sold For A Dime CD

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Who has released records on all these labels: the legendary r'n'b label OKeh, the nu-blues stronghold Fat Possum, the key rap originators Sugar Hill, Tommy Boy and 4th & Broadway, Real World Records and the innovative On-U Sound?

Which musician links Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaata, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, James Brown, Robert Plant, Mark Stewart & The Mafia, ... Read more in Amazon's Little Axe Store

Visit Amazon's Little Axe Store
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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Jun. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Real World
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,219 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Guide My Feet Soul Of A Man
2. Grinning
3. Take A Stroll
4. Hands Off
5. Can't Sleep
6. Hammerhead
7. Can't Stop Walking Yet
8. Hear Me Cry
9. Too Late
10. Another Friend Gone
11. Tell Me Why
12. Return
13. When The Sun Goes Down

Product Description

Product Description

Blues, soulful vocals, dub, reggae, gospel – in a space where the dirt roads of the Deep South meet the shiny lanes of the Information Superhighway. Skip 'Little Axe' McDonald, the legendary blues guitarist, might not have sold his soul at the crossroads, but he's looked both ways – down the road of the old blues, up the highway of the future – before proceeding. After a series of studio-based albums, Little Axe have returned to their roots on Bought For a Dollar, Sold For a Dime. For the first time in seventeen years the original crew came together in the Big Room at Real World for this rare and privileged session, with McDonald and his co-producer, British dub maestro Adrian Sherwood. Featuring soul singer Bernard Fowler, drummer Keith LeBlanc, bassist Doug Wimbish, all of whom made up the seminal British outfit, Tackhead (1987 – 1991), a band whose pioneering devices are now integral aspects of rap and pop. LeBlanc, Wimbish and McDonald had previously blazed a trail as The Sugarhill Gang, house band of the famed early '80s rap label Sugar Hill Records; they were, quite probably, the most important rhythm section on the planet. Real World's state-of-the-art facilities opened its arms to other collective regulars, and the result is a live album, Little Axe-style.

BBC Review

After nearly two decades of blues re-invention, singer/guitarist Skip McDonald has perfected his particular and peculiar metamorphosis of the form. Is Little Axe a band or an alternative name for McDonald himself? It's quite possibly both, as every live appearance possesses a very strong group vibration. McDonald now prefers the stance of grizzled bluesman from Dayton, Ohio, but his prime breakthrough came as a member of Sugar Hill Records' in-house band, and had formed Tackhead by the time the mid-80s arrived.

Regardless of whether his assumed 'authenticity' is similar to that sought by born-again bluesman Keb' Mo', it's not really an issue when McDonald clearly embraces the form with authority, creativity and innovation. A massive part of the already massive Little Axe sound has always been provided by dub-king producer Adrian Sherwood, his influence so sonically pervasive that he counts as an equal collaborator. The old master-crew is assembled for these sessions in Peter Gabriel's Real World studio: bassist Doug Wimbish, drummer Keith LeBlanc and soaring singer Bernard Fowler. There are also two guest vocal spots from Jamaican veteran Ken Boothe. Less familiar, but still crucial to this album is harmonica player Alan Glen, whose stinging trills lift up nearly every song.

The feedback avenues are now beyond easy tracking, as old blues elements are channelled through fresh techniques. There are even versions of two Tackhead songs, further confusing the lineage between old-timey rural foot-clumping and shining 1980s funk-hop beats. There's a reading of the song popularised by long-departed down-home bluesman Son House: his Grinnin' In Your Face is shortened to Grinning.

The album opens and closes with 50-second mini-songs, their gospel traits swirling into the heavens. Most of the remaining bulk favours a much longer six-minute average within which to slink and saunter, emanating a spellbinding aura. The distinctive Little Axe sound is a dreamy miasma, creaming up elements of funk, rock, soul and gospel. It's perpetually intertwining into a genre weave. The vocal layers build up a call-and-response thickness, and a couple of tunes even hint at ska and reggae rhythms. The cumulative slowness begins to take on the feel of an imaginary Funkadelic ballad collection.

The guitars are always draped in exotic echo, held in perpetual slow motion, except for when Hammerhead gets to sludge-truckin' and Return proves itself the hardest and heaviest track. By this time, there's a beautifully sustained flotation in place. --Martin Longley

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Leonardo27 on 9 Jun. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Skip McDonald's venerable blues project continues to evolve, with the emphasis this time shifting from the sample-based grooves of old to a 'live in the studio' format. It's a bold and rejuvenating move, resulting in his most accessible album to date and inching him closer to the mainstream. It's also a deeply spiritual, some might say almost religious, body of work. Book-ended by two short gospel cameos, thematically the album goes in search of the meaning of life.

The organic composition of the record makes for a warm and generally mellow experience, leaving behind many of the harsher elements of earlier dub experiments.

Some of the material is instantly familiar. "Soul Of A Man" first appeared on Little Axe's debut album "The Wolf That House Built", this new version emerging as a real song as opposed to the bolted-together patchwork of the original. "Grinning" , previously encountered on "Champagne and Grits", is an alternative reworking of Son House's "People Grinning In Your Face" and also benefits greatly from the live production.

Elsewhere, McDonald and Daby Toure resume the memorable collaboration started on last year's joint EP "Call My Name" with the soaring "Tell Me Why", whilst "Another Friend Gone" is pure undiluted gospel, and the massed voices on "Hammerhead" power an impressively insistent blues groove.

When all is said and done, there is the nagging feeling that maybe a few too many rough edges were smoothed over in the studio, and in songwriting terms perhaps there aren't quite as many out-and-out gems as on previous albums, but these are small quibbles in what is otherwise again a quality release from one of the most consistent and original exponents of the blues around.
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By Graham Cawthorne on 6 Jun. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Arguably the finest Little Axe yet. Great to see the Tackhead boys back doing what they do best. Great vocals from Bernard and some old tunes given interesting makeovers. A thoroughly good listen.
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By Frank-a-delic on 13 Jan. 2013
Format: MP3 Download
It's two and half years since I first got "Bought for a Dollar"; and, when looking for a music to warm my soul on a cold winter's afternoon, this is still the perfect choice. Timeless & classic.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shoetown on 8 Jun. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is typical Little Axe - 21st Century Blues but with an added live feel. With all the usual suspects playing on this latest offering it should have been excellent but its not; its far far better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Delta Blues... 20 Aug. 2010
By Nse Ette - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Tracklist is as follows:

01 - Guide My Feet
02 - Soul of a Man
03 - Grinning
04 - Take a Stroll
05 - Hands Off
06 - Can't Sleep
07 - Hammerhead
08 - Can't Stop Walking Yet
09 - Hear Me Cry
10 - Too Late
11 - Another Friend Gone
12 - Tell Me Why
13 - Return
14 - When the Sun Goes Dow

Guitarist Skip McDonald better known as Little Axe is back with his experimental Blues sound, a hybrid of Blues, Folk, Soul and Dub with electronic flourishes. A brief falsetto-sung Marvin Gaye-channeling intro "Guide my feet" opens the album, followed by the haunting horn and harmonica-laced "Soul of a man" with soulful vocals telling us "A man has to go back to the cross-roads to find himself". "Grinning" is Psychedelic Blues with some wicked guitar which appeared earlier on his album "Champagne and grits" in a stripped acoustic version titled "Grinning in your face", while "Hands off" is a brief instrumental excursion into Bluegrass.

"Can't sleep" is enchanting slowed Blues, while "Can't stop walking yet" is more upbeat with a groovy bassline. "Too late" is woozy Blues, again harmonica-laced. "Another friend gone" is actually the Gospel Hymn "How great Thou art" with additional lines about a departed friend, and sounding almost like something Wyclef would do. "Tell me why" is horn-sprinkled Reggae-ish, while closing is the brief acapella "When the sun goes down".

This is Blues, deep, dirty, and beautiful!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Loved it! 7 July 2011
By Jeremy Raven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love this album. I am so happy Skip Mcdonald has continued on his musical journey carrying with him the ON-U Sound feel with his music. There is not much left of the ON-U Sound rhythm and beats sadly but Skip has kept up with a mix of tradition and modern sounding vibes we were so used to hearing with Tackhead. Skip plays an awesome blues guitar over funky bass rifts and thumping drums beats on some of the tracks which I love, but this is more intricate than a Tackhead album and each track quite unique from one another. Im not eloquent enough with words to write a worthy review of the album but all I will say is you will not be disappointed, in fact you will be placing this CD on top of you collection for a few months and catching yourself singing some of the tracks in the office or car, they really are that catchy and approachable.
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