I can’t ignore it any longer. Good, raw, rock n roll for the sake of the music is a rarity when it’s not been gussied up and worried over. It’s not that I don’t like honed rock n roll, but it certainly is refreshing to hear some folks pick up a guitar, and some sticks, and just play for the love of it. Rock and Roll in a pure sense is music over the last 40 or so years that have not been classified as specific genres like, say, jazz would be. It can be pigeon-holed as heavy metal, hard-core, pop, glam, and punk much like bands that you know are, or it can be raw and hard to define like the subject of this review, Dislocation Blues by Chris Whitley and Jeff Lang.
Dislocation Blues was recorded between short tours by the two components of this magnificent recording in 2005 in Australia, where Jeff Lang resides. Chris Whitley, a US musician, carved out time to work this album with Lang and what ends up as the music found here is pretty compelling stuff. Not long after the completion of this album, Chris Whitley discovered he had lung cancer and succumbed to the disease in November of 2005.
Dislocation Blues begins with an arrangement of the traditional “Stagger Lee” blues songs that is often arranged by many bands. This slowed and industrial production is quite a work all by itself. Accompanied by 11 more songs that include another slowed down cover, the Dylan classic from Street Legal, “Changing of the Guard,” Dislocation Blues is a complete classic all by itself. The guitar lines that replicate the horns found on that Dylan original is chillingly effective making the song one to return to quite often. But song switching will not be necessary here as the album flows wonderfully, making it an album to listen to from start to finish in its chronological setting.
If you like your rock n roll blues relentless, then Dislocation Blues will make the laser in your player smoke with heat. As stated before, Dislocation Blues is raw, it is hot, and it is a splendid document of the core of rock n roll.