Record Bulletin, 3/20: Rhiannon Giddens – “Tomorrow is My Turn” and Pops Staples – “Don’t Lose This”

Nothing Ever Dies, Not Anymore

Figure I’d better clear out some crap scribblings I’ve had hanging around to do make space in my brain. No point in hanging on to stuff I know I won’t change my mind about.

FrontRHIANNON GIDDENS – Tomorrow is My Turn (Nonesuch): Carolina Chocolate Drops singer goes solo, ditching over-stylized jug bands of yore mimicry despite all but one of these cuts being covers. I’ll tell you what turned me around to what I would have pegged as an above-average rearrangement game: her take on Dolly Parton’s “Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind,” a refreshing take if ridiculously similar, and though Giddens doesn’t have Dolly’s pipes, she more than adequately handles the source material. B PLUS (**)

FrontPOPS STAPLES – Don’t Lose This (dBpm): Fifteen years gone since the original recording in ’99, daughter Mavis and collaborator Jeff Tweedy (Wilco frontman, derp) fill the production gaps of the sporadic soul figure’s loose leftovers. Staples’s soft, nasal delivery slides easily over his wiry, Delta guitar licks on gospel numbers tuned to a blues key, and Tweedy and son Spencer surround him on bass and drums respectively, the bass soft but the drums too rumbly and largely off-rhythm in a way only a Wilco disciple could deliver. Perhaps the biggest overkill, though, is the Staple sisters’ backup vocals—too crisp and clean and trained to fit Pops’s imprecise delivery, which is one seemingly detached but with a slightly snarling veneer. I understand the impulse to put gloss good recordings lacking bite, but the restoration is a little over the top. B PLUS (**)


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