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Wednesday, July 21, 1999

Review - Fish Tree Water Blues

Artist: Various artists

Posted on Wed, Jul 21, 1999 at 4:00 AM

While this collection contains already released material, "Fish Tree Water Blues" does offers enough original work to make it unique -- especially considering that it benefits the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund's campaign to save wild salmon, ancient forests and free-flowing waterways.

"Take Me to the River" by Bob Weir's Ratdog (with Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica) is essential listening for Dead-heads. New works from J.J. Cale, Mavis Staples and bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart are also enjoyable. Ani DiFranco's "Fuel" is an offbeat rap with a righteous message, while Loudon Wainwright III's "Hard Day on the Planet" questions authority without a trace of malice. Tracy Nelson's "Mother Earth," with the late Mike Bloomfield on guitar, is a treat. Keb' Mo' moans and wails on "Victims of Comfort."

There are also some worthy collaborations: John Hammond supporting John Lee Hooker, and Branford Marsalis jamming with guitarist Joe Louis Walker. Earth mother Etta James is left to close with a version of the Eagles' "Take it to the Limit."

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