Album: Levon Helm, Electric Dirt, (Vanguard)

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The Independent Culture

Dirt Farmer revisited. Perhaps Son of Dirt Farmer would be more idiomatic. Or just Son of the Dirt. Either way it continues the former Band singer/drummer's impressive return as the grand old man of soulful Southern-ness.

Larry Campbell produces again and the sound is dug from the same sod: funky, agrarian songs with grain. He kicks off with the Dead's "Tennessee Jed", tackles Randy Newman ("Kingfish") and borrows the arranging skills of Allen Toussaint. His cancer-ravaged throat holds up well. What's not to dig?