Chris Whitley & The Bastard Club

April 20, 2006

Completed shortly before the revered guitarist and singer-songwriter died of lung cancer last November, Whitley’s final effort is a low-fi, high-energy collection that furthers his incredible legacy. The disc was recorded almost entirely in one take with no overdubs, which suits these rough-hewn gems perfectly. Reiter In showcases Whitley’s accessible eclecticism by bringing together original material penned by Whitley and his band—featuring members of New York alterna-rockers Johnny Society—and several intriguing covers, including Gary Numan’s “Are Friends Electric?” and the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” The disc’s highlight is a magnificently raw version of the Flaming Lips’ “Mountain Side” that finds Whitley’s blistering guitar licks and raucous vocals at their most urgent. The album also takes listeners into the sessions by including studio chatter and tape roll sounds, making an already intimate recording even more so. (Red Parlor).

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