Album: Robbie Robertson, How to Become Clairvoyant (429)

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The Independent Culture

On his first album in 13 years, Robbie Robertson resumes his fascination with the great American mythos.

It's fine while he's reminiscing about Sonny Boy Williamson and Pops Staples in "Straight Down the Line", but gets a bit corny when he's on about meeting card-sharps, grifters and tent-show evangelists, and a touch excruciating when he's commemorating fallen guitar heroes in "Axman". The more personal tracks – leaving The Band in "This Is Where I Get Off", and cleaning up his act in "He Don't Live Here" – are the most moving, but he's always been able to write songs better than he sings them, which didn't matter when he had The Band's three great voices to animate his narratives. Clapton and Winwood are among the guests, but steel guitarist Robert Randolph is the standout turn.

DOWNLOAD THIS Straight Down the Line; He Don't Live Here; This Is Where I Get Off