Review: Colin Linden – Still Live

Posted on: Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Colin Linden – Still Live

(CrossCut Records: CCD 12012)

Here’s a little understated gem from the Toronto-born, Nashville-based Colin Linden . . . a superb singer and guitarist, much in-demand session player and producer . . . “Still Live” . . . his rootsy, and sometimes bluesy songs captured live at Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville back in 2010, with just one studio cut, recorded at a rehearsal the day before!

Linden has around a dozen albums to his name, but, along with the likes of Joe Henry and T-Bone Burnett, he has become on of the finest roots producers around, and also has played on around 300 releases. Here, he is with his regular rhythm section of John Dymond (bass and harmony vocals) and Gary Craig (drums) – from his roots band Blackie And The Rodeo Kings – and they are joined by the great Spooner Oldham on organ.

The 12 songs are all originals, bar one cover – a slide-drenched rumba through Willie Dixon’s “Who’s Been Talking” – the album kicking off with his acoustic slide on his own “Big Mouth”, which sets the tone for this cool and relaxed set. Spooner Oldham’s organ gives the excellent “Between The Darkness And The Light Of Day” a gospelly feel, with shades of Elvis Costello in Linden’s vocal – it’s a definite standout on the album.

“Smoke ‘Em All” has a nice fingerpicked acoustic guitar intro, with a rumbling bass line from John Dymond and is dominated by more exquisite guitar work from Linden. The atmospheric “Sugar Mine” has plenty of  his famed electric slide work with a really thick tone, reminiscent of Ry Cooder at his best, and it’s another beautiful rootsy song, again embellished by some inspired touches from Spooner Oldham.

The sole studio cut, tells of a mythical visit from a Beatle to the Crescent City, “John Lennon In New Orleans” – and it’s a soulful, heartfelt number as Linden imagines the late legend on the streets of N’Awlins. “From The Water” is a rootsy number with Linden’s vocal and guitar, aided by harmonies from John Dymond, and Gary Craig’s sharp drumming. Jim Lauderdale co-wrote the lovely “Dark Night Of The Soul” with Linden . . . it’s a lovely ballad with a definite country feel to it and again, a fine vocal.

Elsewhere “Too Late To Holler” rides on a strutting guitar riff and Oldham’s keyboard work; the stripped down “Sinking Down Slow” is a sparse ballad telling of lost love, that has a Southern soul vibe to it. This most enjoyable album ends with another co-write, this time with another in-demand producer, Tom Hambridge, on a rocking blues, “I Give Up” . . . Colin Linden’s slide guitar and vocals to the fore, pushed along by the stellar rhythm section.


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