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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016

Those who read this blog regularly know that my favorite musician currently is Jack White. No matter what he does--the defunct White Stripes, The Raconteurs, Dead Weather, or his solo career, I'm in awe of his songwriting genius and his virtuosity on the guitar. His latest output is a collection of acoustic recording from the first White Stripes album to the present.

There is some confusion about what this collection consists of. There are a lot of negative reviews on Amazon because people thought these were re-recordings of old songs in acoustic versions. That is not what it is--these are original recordings, some of them exactly as they appear on White Stripes, Raconteurs, or Jack White albums. There are also some alternative mixes, a song from the Cold Mountain soundtrack, and one he did for a commercial for Coca-Cola.

So, essentially, this a mixed bag of songs that are acoustic, and if you have all of Jack's White's output, there isn't much new here (besides the Coke commercial and a couple of B-sides to singles). But to that I say, so what? I remember my friend Paula buying the Beatles #1 album, which was all their number one hits. I asked her why she bought it, since she already had all those songs on their original albums. "I don't have them all on one CD though," she said. Good point.

White was in Cold Mountain, as a musician during the Civil War, and he looked perfect in the role. He comes from a long tradition, that includes Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and many others, as a troubadour who reaches deep into all musical traditions. That is displayed here. Some of his songs are very child-like, almost like nursery rhymes, such as "We're Going to Be Friends," and the outright silliness of "Well It's True That We Love One Another," but he also has a murder ballad "Carolina Drama" and songs of all forms of rock, from the blues to sweet love songs.

I'm sorry for those who think they were misled by what they bought, but if they are true Jack White fans this is the perfect thing while we wait for his next album.

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