Album: Various Artists, Theme Time Radio Hour, Season 2 (Ace)

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This second compilation of juicy morsels plucked from Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour is every bit as nourishing as the first, its 50 tracks ranging from 1927 ("Diamond Joe" by The Georgia Crackers) to 2004 (Jolie Holland's "Goodbye California"), and stylistically across the entire gamut of musical endeavour, except maybe heavy metal and heavy classical.

It's hard to think of another compilation which could as comfortably encompass James Brown, Porter Wagoner, Sun Ra, Rilo Kiley, Captain Beefheart, Charlie Feathers, Desmond Dekker, Miriam Makeba, Nilsson, Archibald and Red Ingle, let alone tackle Don Tosti's "Mambo del Pachuco" or Hal Swain's "Hunting Tigers Out in India". Even the most enthusiastic musicologist will find something new here: my own life has been thus illuminated by Frankie Lee Sims' "Walkin' with Frankie", a great Hooker-style boogie with a pronounced cajun inflection; "My Walking Stick", in which Satchmo hymns his cane while The Mills Brothers provide a cappella horn accompaniment; Jo-El Sonnier's rousing cajun take on "Tear-Stained Letter"; and, perhaps best of all, Swamp Dogg's poignant, soulful version of "Sam Stone".

Download this Walkin' with Frankie, My Walking Stick, Sam Stone, One Hand Loose, Tear-Stained Letter