Brooks Williams - Blues and Ballads

Brooks Williams Blues & Ballads
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Brooks is a singer and guitar player from Statesboro, Georgia, USA who tours his high-class acoustic music throughout the UK fairly regularly. It has been my great pleasure to catch most of his forays into Tykes' territory, especially on the occasions he winds up in my living room! He is also a fine writer, but he has reached the point that many such seem to reach where they feel the need to explore their formative influences - to go back to the Tradition that inspired them, in fact.

In Brooks' case, much of this inspiration came from the Blues, so material by such icons as Blind Boy Fuller and Robert Johnson comes as no surprise. The ballad part of the title covers classic versions of Shady Groves and Watch The Stars, but with wonderful instrumental versions of old fiddle tunes, jazz standards, gospel and even a Bruce Cockburn song, Brooks rightly points out that, "It wasn't my intention to think of each song as either a blues or a ballad. Rather, I think of the songs as a part of a whole: living testaments of the human story."

So what we are blessed with here is a really great singer and guitar player at the top of his game revisiting material he knows and loves inside out. The production just about recreates what we'd get live with a little added bass or mandolin for good measure. It's a great record, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 70 of The Living Tradition magazine.