Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie – Old Friends | Album Review

Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie – Old Friends

Black Hen Music

11 tracks/51:23

This release features two veteran Canadian musicians with decades of experience in playing a variety of blues and rock styles. Since their first meeting over twenty years ago, the duo has done numerous tours throughout Canada and beyond, sharing their particular interpretation of acoustic blues. Doug Cox is talented slide guitar and dobro player while Sam Hurrie contributes on acoustic guitar. The notes to the disc stress that there were no overdubs or use of auto-tuning – pure, unadulterated music.

The lone original, Cox’s “Dexter’s Back,” is an instrumental full of delicate finger-picking from both men. Several blues standards are covered, with “John The Revelator” opening the disc with Cox using the dobro to set the stage for Hurrie’s smooth voice to sing the familiar Son House classic. Their run-through of the traditional “Nobody”s Fault But Mine” gives Cox plenty of space to highlight his skills on the dobro. Muddy Waters’ “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had” finds Cox switching to mandolin, taking listeners back to the country. Another traditional tune, “In My Time Of Dying,” has Hurrie utilizing a tougher vocal approach, Cox answering with some slashing dobro work that cuts to the heart of rock & roll.

Guy Clark’s “Old Friends” slips into a talking vocal from Cox, whose laid-back tone is a good fit for the dual guitar accompaniment. His weathered voice has little difficulty conveying the heartache on “Rains On Me” before breaking around the edges on “Angel Of Death,” written by Hank Williams. Another traditional piece, “St. Anne’s,” is an instrumental taken at a faster pace with plenty of fine picking from both guitarists. They give Charlie Patton’s “By And By (Poor Me)” a stately reading, then Cox leads the way on Mississippi John Hurt’s “Payday,” the bright sounds from his dobro framing his deep vocal tone.

Their years of playing together have given Cox & Hurrie a tight sound with some interesting instrumental interplay. They consistently hold the reins in close, leaving only a few moments when emotions burst forth. That studied approach works well for them, leaving this release one for fans of acoustic blues will definitely want to check this one out.

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