Carl Hancock Rux Good Bread Alley

[Thirsty Ear; 2006]

Styles: spoken word jazz/blues
Others: Gil Scott-Heron, Ani DiFranco, Jimi Hendrix reading aloud

I’ve never heard an album quite like Good Bread Alley before. New York poet Carl Hancock Rux preaches spoken word gems and bluesy revolution jives over consistently serious, yet uplifting emotional soul jams. Produced by a dozen or so Thirsty Ear/Rux hangers on with a little lyrical help from Vernon Reid (Living Colour) and David Holmes, elements of pretty much every musical style native to America appear from track to track. Critics can’t stop comparing his passionate, powerfully worded, often political spoken and sung poetry to a cornucopia of classic rock’s all time finest. It’s true; Rux rocks. However, despite the quality ingredients in the mix, the problem with Good Bread Alley is that the session-musician music and glossy production often crosses the well-established threshold to the land of kitsch and cheese. Over a more aptly produced grungy arrangement, Rux would stand as an inarguably commanding voice, one of the last soul guides. But, as is, his voice is stripped of enough of its impact to let him simmer on the outskirts of universal acceptance and wait for another album, another chance.

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