Being familiar and enriched by the integrity and quality of Kelly Joe Phelps' prior recordings, the only reservation I had before I bought this CD was that it was live. Understand me, I don't dislike live albums in principle. In the case of certain artists, live recordings have captured legendary performances and unusual moments of beauty. Anyway, the point was whether an album of new versions of old songs and a couple of classic Blues, plus the potentially limited sound of a live performance, would add to Phelps' track record. Great news. This album is as satisfying and likely to touch you as much as any one of Phelps prior incarnations, whichever one may be your favorite. The album begins with a remarkable version of the classic "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues," sung so close to the bone you may think he's channeling Skip James himself, and also serving a the first reminder of this man's skill and feel on the acoustic guitar. Both his voice and his strings do the honors on several of self-penned tunes too. Three that must be mentioned for their intimacy and new touch are "Not So Far To Go" and "Waiting For Marty," both ballads that were highlights from his last studio album Slingshot Professionals," the tender and thoughtful "Tommy," and the second cover "I Am The Light O f The World." Finally, the quality of the recording is impeccable as live albums go. It seems that the people in the small audience present was as enthralled as I, when he played these songs. Other than applauses respectfully waiting for the end of each song, the silence is absolute. Almost reverential of the great music captured on Tap The Red Cane Whirlwind.
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