Sufi Life's Rising Virgin AMBT 9

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ture, condensed here into a set of songs written by or associated with the man he considers one of the very few decent Americans.

Langford's take on Cash portrays the grizzled Man in Black as the voice of the downtrodden and dispossessed, though far from immune to weakness himself, as borne out by songs like "Cocaine Blues", "Guess Things Happen That Way" and Kris Kristofferson's salty hangover ballad "Sunday Morning Coming Down," in which "the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert".

Once you get past the novelty of hearing these cornerstones of American culture sung with stolid Brit inflexions, the simple virtues of the country- punk arrangements - sometimes rockabilly sharp, sometimes weary beyond belief - unfold subtly, with a wheeze of Tex-Mex squeezebox here and a woozy gurgle of slide guitar there. Only occasionally do they overreach, as when "Thing Called Love", already riding a particularly grungey variant of the Bo Diddley beat, is topped off with a guitar break quoting the melody of "Ring of Fire."

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