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Levon Helm 

Electric Dirt (Vanguard)

On his second album since battling cancer, the only American in The Band seems positively robust. "Where's the dignity in a crop that you raise to burn?" muses a farmer who turned to growing marijuana in "Growin' Trade". The only Helm original, it's also the catchiest tune on Electric Dirt. Not that the Grateful Dead ("Tennessee Jed") and Randy Newman ("Kingfish") numbers are short of sublime. Daughter Amy sings harmony and Allen Toussaint's horn arrangements drop some New Orleans into the jamboree. Electric Dirt would be a gas even if it weren't from an unforgettable voice that was nearly silenced.

Kingfish - Levon Helm


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