This is soooo good!
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Bloodkin’s 25th anniversary box set, One Long Hustle, is everything a retrospective should be, yet it is completely new, too. The booklet of the band’s history reminisced and revealed by Daniel Hutchens, the collection of previously unreleased tracks, and the stories they tell are as much about Athens, Georgia’s musical spiderweb as they are of the band itself. Despite collaboration with legends like Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground and Southern stalwarts like Gov’t Mule, Bloodkin might be the band that was always there for every amazing show– that you have never heard of before…but you have probably heard their music.
Friends and conspirators with the guys in Widespread Panic from the beginning, many of Hutchens’ and Eric Carter’s songs gained notoriety when played by the jam band, like “Can’t Get High,” “True to My Nature,” and “Henry Parsons Died.” One Long Hustle is like being transported to the nights you might have missed at their famed High Hat residency “way back when.” Bloodkin’s songs sound like them, but definitely do not sound the same. They travel through their different sounds in a natural flow, bringing their own history, the sounds of their friends who play on various tracks, and their latest muse with them.
What appeals most about One Long Hustle is the breadth of the recordings: living room tapes on a 4-track Tascam, cleaned up in the studio by David Barbe, but wisely not sanitized into a shiny version apart from the original, studio outtakes from a variety of formal and informal sessions throughout the Southeast,and alternate takes that did not make an album playlist for one reason or another. Bloodkin’s 25th anniversary is not just about history; it’s also about where they are headed. They recorded a few new tunes for the release, too. Listening to all 88 songs carries me through the 25 years of Georgia music that formed me, too, from the Athens, Georgia Inside Out days (which was around or just before when Hutchens and Carter arrived from West Virginia) to the current success of The Whigs or Drive-By Truckers.
Author’s Note: Bloodkin generously donated “Henry Parsons Died” for a worldwide debut for Country Fried Rock’s Compilation Vol. 1 to Benefit Nuci’s Space in Athens, GA, available for free download here. Please consider a generous donation to Nuci’s Space in return for the download. They prevent musician suicide by removing barriers to mental health care and a lot more. 100% of the money in the compilation’s “tip jar” goes directly to Nuci’s. I personally covered all the expenses of the album. SS
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