Young Ones Records

20 Miles - Keep It Coming


Format: CD
Label: FAPO
Catalog: 80356
Rel. Date: 05/07/2002
UPC: 045778035625

Keep It Coming
Artist: 20 Miles
Format: CD
New: In Stock Used: In Stock

Formats and Editions


I was never a big 20 Miles fan. The band, a side project of Jon Spencer BluesExplosion guitarist Judah Bauer, may have had good intentions, but both theirdebut Ragged Backyard Classics and its abortive follow-up, a North Mississippiblues project recorded with R.L. Boyce, Othar Turner, and Spam (T-Model Ford'sdrummer), fell far short of success. Bauer seemed unwilling to shape his own vision,and it showed: 20 Miles came off as an amorphous stab at self-expression, destinedto remain on the back burner.

Now forget all that. Keep It Coming, 20 Miles' current release, supersedeseven the Blues Explosion's new one (Plastic Fang) as the blues rockalbum of 2002. From the stripped-down approach of "Well, Well, Well"to the album's closer "I Believe," it's evident that Bauerhas achieved the impossible: he's concocted the perfect combination of hillcountry blues and big city rock. "Tear down the mountains," he commandson "Well, Well, Well." "Help me take down all the idols/ I don'tneed them/ I don't believe them" Bauer growls, and it's obviousthat he's finally comfortable in his own skin.

The country twang of "Only One," the ringing guitar rock on "AllMy Brothers, Sisters Too!" and the jangling affirmations of "Feel Right"make you wanna turn it up loud and boogie 'til you drop. Don't miss"Rhythm Bound," an addictive hand-clapping percussive romp that namechecks H.C. Speir, the Jackson, Mississippi-based talent scout who discoveredCharley Patton, Skip James, and a handful of other bluesmen in the mid-twentiethcentury. "Heal myself/ Help myself/ Soothe myself everyday," Bauer singsover his chunky guitar chords with infectious enthusiasm, "I am rhythm bound."Elsewhere ("Fix Fences," "Phaedo"), he plays with a tremolostyle that rivals the late great Pops Staples.

Keep It Coming is so damn good that I wonder what it took for Bauer tofinally break through. I can almost picture him selling his soul to the devilat some desolate Brooklyn crossroads, like a big city Robert Johnson. Strangerthings have happened...
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