Chris Whitley – War Crime Blues

Previously available only at gigs or on the Internet (along with the similarly acoustic Weed), War Crime Blues is a masterclass in bottleneck guitar and mud-caked Mississippi stomp from this most distinctive of guitarists. There are similarities to contemporaries like Chris Smither in the wounded delivery, but the Texan's style is more aggressive, his accentuated strums—like sudden lightning forks—more akin to the late great Tucson guitarist Rainer Ptacek (see "Ghost Dance" and the title track).

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Previously available only at gigs or on the Internet (along with the similarly acoustic Weed), War Crime Blues is a masterclass in bottleneck guitar and mud-caked Mississippi stomp from this most distinctive of guitarists. There are similarities to contemporaries like Chris Smither in the wounded delivery, but the Texan’s style is more aggressive, his accentuated strums?like sudden lightning forks?more akin to the late great Tucson guitarist Rainer Ptacek (see “Ghost Dance” and the title track). There are unexpected moments of sublime dexterity, too, not least on a fully-wired cover of Lou Reed’s “I Can’t Stand It” and The Clash’s “The Call Up”.

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