dustyKJThe heart of rock and roll is still beating, as Huey Lewis once said, and Dusty King James celebrates that heartbeat with a well-rounded gospel-blues anthology.

Dusty King James (Bound For Glory)
Assorted Artists
Full Armor Productions
11 tracks / 45 minutes

Dusty King James is a well-rounded blues anthology ranging from the rock-influenced Glen Kaiser ("Crossroads") to the gospelly honky-tonk blues of Mudcat ("I Want to be Ready") and everything in-between. Kaiser isn't the only blues-rock veteran on the album - the welcome sound of Larry Howard, laying a low-down groove on "Real Miracle Man," is a real treat for Southern blues fans.

Along with a smattering of originals, standards like "This Train," "John the Revelator," and "Since I Laid My Burdens Down" make this collection a nice mix of the old and the new - all done with respect to one blues tradition or another, from the bayou to the inner city. The overall result is an easy-going blues primer with a traditional gospel message that never gets particularly intense but certainly brings a dusty, down-home bluesy feeling.

Dusty King James has a dirt-road charm about it that sets it apart from the slick guitar-slinging speed players that tend to get a lot of the attention in blues circles these days but seem to have lost the roots of the blues along the way. This is a nice companion piece to The 77s' Trimmed and Burnin' and Kevin Max's tribute to the roots of contemporary gospel, The Blood. The album's sub-title might be 'bound For Glory,' but it's also bound for your CD player if you're into the blues.

-Bert Saraco