This is so redolent of the heart and soul of the 60's and 70's that it's difficult to locate terms sufficient to the task of expressing just how unique, and yet how multi-genre perfect, I Should be Blue is. The reference to "hill country blues" fits Sid Selvidge like a second skin, and there's a hell of a lot of Paul Simon in him, but he tends to often reside more in Phil Ochs / Harry Chapin territory, especially Och's unnervingly deceptive breeziness, while maintaining a unique vocal presence. From early days playing with such giants as Furry Lewis and Mississippi Fred McDowell, Selvidge has absorbed much and made it his own.
The gent's cover of Donovan's Catch the Wind is the best interpretation I've ever heard of that tune, faithful while spinning to American shores, beautifully complemented by Amy Speace's duetting, matching tenor and sentiment perfectly. Then there's his manneredly uproarious take on the trad You're Gonna Look Like a Monkey (When You Get Old), a rock-jazzed cut percolating in funky folk topped by bird-on-the-wire falsetto. The closer, the famed Ellington / Russell Do Nothing 'Til You Hear from Me has the quavery delta sensitivity of Jesse Winchester while seizing the tune over to a whole new territory. There, as elsewhere, brother Steve Selvidge inserts a down-home electric guitar that's slyly jazzy while lyrical and understatedly finessed.
Don Dixon produced this one with consummate discretion. I've mentioned previously that I hadn't in the past been all that captured by his solo work (Most of the Girls, Romeo at Julliard, etc.), but as a producer, he's becoming impressive as hell. Here, he sits in throughout, and everything about I Should be Blue is an exercise in impeccability on both sides of the sound board. I think Selvidge may have found his perfect frame in Dixon, and, in Selvidge, Dixon may have encountered one of the most rivetingly eclectic down home aesthetes he'll even encounter. The listener, then, can only earnestly hope for a lot more from both.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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