Let It Burn

Let It Burn (Blue Corn)

Ruthie Foster

Let It Burn (Blue Corn)
Record Review

Given that the Blind Boys of Alabama grace the first notes of Let It Burn and the final ones of "The Titanic" in a set of mostly sanctified covers – the everlasting gospel group's contemporary stock-in-trade – consider this Ruthie Foster's Blind Boys of Alabama album. Coating four tracks sequenced as the LP's spine, the BBOA stamp Foster's tolling chain gang lament "Lord Remember Me" and the building intensity/density of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Long Time Gone," two of Burn's brightest lights. Recorded in New Orleans at a supremely unhurried pace, the disc crosses over on Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" and canny material choices such as Los Lobos ("This Time"), the Black Keys ("Everlasting Light"), and the Band ("It Makes No Difference"). Yet it's an organ-ribbed massage of Stax man William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water," forever at the heart of the Byrds' gospel-kissed country rock classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo, that really connects. Likewise June Carter's "Ring of Fire" is a soul simmer clocking in at a too-short 3:06 that could have been a Top 40 slow jam anytime during the last 30 years. Foster's loving embrace of John Martyn's modern folk standard "Don't Want To Know" segues into a severely smoky, almost sax dirge of Pete Seeger's human rights rallying cry "If I Had a Hammer." Burn baby. Burn.

***

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    The gospel according to Ruthie Foster

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