Way Down The River – Sugarcane Collins | CD

(www.sugarcanecollins.com) 4.5 stars

The man from our Far North has immersed himself deeper than ever before in the raw blues of the Mississippi Delta on his third CD.

In fact, singer-guitarist Andy “Sugarcane” Collins has achieved such an authentic sound it’s hard to believe all 13 tracks are home-grown Cairns originals.

As the singer observes on his evocative `I’ve Heard The News’: “The blues ain’t nothing’ but a good man feeling bad.’’

Truth to tell, the music went global long ago – from India’s V. M. Bhatt to Mali’s the late Ali Farka Toure.

Collins narrows his focus further, to the predominantly acoustic, folk blues era of the 1920s-40s, with lusty tales of prison farms, jumping freight, ramblers, gamblers and juke joints … plus a spirited tribute to Leadbelly.

There’s standout guitar picking and atmospheric slide, along with and Andy Vogel’s evocative blues harp, while credit for the flawless sound goes to producer-arranger Collins and engineer/drummer Nigel Pegrum (ex-Steeleye Span).

`Way Down The River’ is available at www.sugarcanecollins.com.

- Mike Daly

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