Album Review | Nonesuch | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Uncle Dave Macon, or the ‘Dixie Dewdrop’ as he was known back in the early part of the last century, who would no doubt be known as just plain old ‘Dewdrop’ in these frustrating times, is now a figure from the distant past, a showman from the 1920s and the first real star of the Grand Ole Opry. Over the Road I’m Bound is a collection of Uncle Dave’s songs, which in the hands of Joachim Cooder are given a new lease of life, albeit slowed down in tempo to the originals. The urgency in which Uncle Dave originally delivered the songs, appears to have been replaced by mood, atmosphere and feel, delivered with the assistance of Cooder’s instrument of choice, the mbira, one of the most beautiful sounding of all African instruments.
Like his dad before him, Cooder has the sort of voice that couldn’t really be described as polished, yet it’s just right for these songs, again, just like Ry Cooder’s voice suited such songs as “Always Lift Him Up”, “Vigilante Man” and “Little Sister” back in the day. Cooder Snr. appears here on both guitar and banjo, helping out as his son once helped out on the Buena Vista Social Club sessions back in the mid 1990s. Accompanying Cooder on this album is Juliette Commagere on backing vocals, Dan Gellert on Banjo and Fiddle, Rayna Gellert also on fiddle and Sam Gendel on Bass with Vieux Farka Touré guesting on guitar. Personally, I just can’t stop playing this gorgeous album and would suggest that you buy it now instead of waiting around ’til Christmas on the off chance that it’ll be under the tree.