31/10/07 11:31Opgeslagen in: CD-REVIEWS

Previously Stace England attracted a great deal of attention with "Greetings From Cairo." In the sixties the once prosperous city in Illinois at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio found itself in great decline in the aftermath of bloody riots in the struggle for equal civil rights. England outlined a very fascinating history around this theme. With his new group The Salt Kings he covers another harsh chapter in the history of his home state of Illinois. This time Stace exposes the background of slavery and the songs sketch the wretched living conditions of workers in the production of salt. Remarkable stories covering all aspects of the brutal suppression of the black population are addressed. The music is customized depending on the topic and England and his group can be aggressive or more deliberate in approach.  The Salt Kings use rugged, angular riffs in the aggressive opener "Salt Sex Slaves." The ironic 'Inequality in Equality "and "Liberty And The Baptists' both recall the Stones from the period of 'Exile On Main Street." 'Freedom's Star', in which the voice of Jason Ringenberg (Jason and The Scorchers) is heard, is heartwarming acoustic country with attractive fiddle and mandolin. "Shawneetown" is about a desperate romance of a slave couple and the emotionally charged harmonizing by Wil Maring and weeping pedal steel of Lee Brothers compliment England's expressive vocals.  It's a heartbreaking duet that spontaneously evokes memories of Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris.

Some songs such as "Salt King" concern the perverse character of the brutal slave holder John Crenshaw, who lost a leg in an attack by a desperate slave (Muscle and Bone). Each song is a story (unfortunately that really happened) on a dark chapter of American history with highlights that are accurately interpreted.  After "Greetings From Cairo" another fascinating piece of unsurpassed songwriting.
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Cis Van Looy