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Chulahoma

4.7 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Chulahoma
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Audio CD, May 2, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Recorded by the band in their own Akron, OH studio The Black Keys epitomize DIY. Chulahoma is a collection of songs that were originally written by the late Junior Kimbrough, reworked and recorded, The Keys capture the very essence of Juniors style better than any other musician today. Roomy and sparse in production the drums/guitar duo fill out every inch of these songs with distorted guitar, drums, and Dan's soulful vocals.

Amazon.com

For their latest, Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys have brought forth an EP of six songs by Junior Kimbrough. This is no mere dalliance; the late elder Mississippi blues musician was a powerful influence on guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. Their three previous albums, full of dusty grooves and simple but impassioned dynamics, would have found strong rapport with Kimbrough, who unfortunately died before they could ever meet. However, his widow, Mildred gives her passionate endorsement for these performances in the form of a short phone message that appears at the end of the disc. Among the highpoints is "Meet Me in the City," which positively shimmers as the plaintive vocal soars over a virato-ed guitar. The Black Keys, besides paying their heartfelt respects, also demonstrate the breadth and durability of Kimbrough's music. --David Greenberger
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 2, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Fat Possum (Ryko)
  • ASIN: B000F2C87Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,176 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a great EP and more than worth the money it costs. You need to keep in mind though that this is not your typical Black Keys album. It actually sounds more like their first album The Big Come Up than their last album Rubber Factory. This album has the rawness of their first album and is not as polished as Rubber Factory. To me this is a good thing though. I love rough and raw music. This is also why it is so cool that they are doing Junior Kimbrough songs. Kimbrough is probably one of the rawest blue artists ever and the Black Keys really capture his sound and even take it a step further by using their distorted guitar and raw backbone drumming. If you don't know Junior Kimbrough he is really worth checking out but you need to be aware that some of his songs "wander" a bit, meaning that they aren't clean, concise, and under three minutes. The same is true for the songs on this album. Overall though I think this is one of the best efforts the Black Keys have offered yet.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a brilliant release. I have been itching for a new Black Keys release since getting a hold of The Rubber Factory and this EP is every bit as satisfying(if not more so) than a full LP of new original Keys material.

What is perhaps most impressive about this collection of songs is that it will undoubtedly bring great blues music to the attention of people that may not have ever heard it otherwise. The Doors were the first band to bring the brilliant song writing of Willie Dixon to my attention and the Keys have done the exact same with the music of Junior Kimbrough.

The production is exactly what it should be- clean, clear and direct. The songs themselves are outstanding. One thing that really strikes me about this EP is just how sincere this recording comes across. These young guys sound every bit as genuine and real as The Rolling Stones did way back when while covering the legendary Blues and R&B standards that inspired them.

I hate to take shortcuts by name dropping bands like The Doors and The Rolling Stones, but if my comparisons get your attention, then my mission is accomplished.

The pop hooks of songs like 10A.M. Automatic may not be here, but everything that is good in music most certainly is.

Buy this.
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Format: Audio CD
Everything these guys have put out is gold. If your favorite White Stripes song is Ball and Biscuit you'll love the Black Keys. I recommend starting with the Big Come Up and working your way through the albums to this one.

If they don't play a small venue in or around NYC soon I will cry. For a band that sounds like this to open for Radiohead in MSG for $70 a pop is a joke.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've turned so many music loving people on to Delta Blues, Kimbrough, etc. through this cd. I will throw it on at a poker party and wait for the question from that discerning music fan, "who IS this??".

I can only hope and pray the Keys throw us another blues album like Chulahoma. I love people complaining that its all "covers" or that its not played with "12 bars" and go on to say they are a "true blues" fan (whatever that means) not knowing I guess that many of their favorite classic 12 bar blues songs are actually covers of covers, etc.

I guess that's why music is subjective. My advice to anybody that seems to appreciate music of all genres is in keep your mind open and your eyes closed. Otherwise you might end up painting yourself into a corner where only 12 bars sounds right to you ;)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I read the album notes for Chulahoma, I discovered that Dan Auerbach shared exactly the same revelatory astonishment I experienced when I first heard and saw Junior Kimbrough. I will never forget the first time I heard him, on Robert Mugge's amazing documentary, Deep Blues. At the time Mugge filmed him in 1990 there was no such thing as a Junior Kimbrough album, although Junior was already 60 at the time. I could not understand how this unique genius had been overlooked for so long. I had never heard the term before, but I started calling Junior Kimbrough's music "Trance Blues." That's what it did to me: put me in a trance. That's what it did to Dan, and that's what this album will do to you if you let it. With Junior as his muse, it must have taken considerable courage for Dan to do this album, but the Black Keys pull it off. They take the completely original Kimbrough sound and feeling, and carry it forward musically into the present, adding to and modernizing the sound a bit, but carrying this brilliant musician's ideas forward. They do it with their own songs and God bless 'em, they do it with Junior's stuff too. Thankfully, the Black Keys will not have to wait until they are 62 before they are discovered. They are on the way to huge popularity with their own songs, but if you really want to understand where they come from, listen to Chulahoma. And listen to Junior too, All Night Long.
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Format: Audio CD
A nod to the insight of two other reviewers:

A) Ball and Biscuit is indeed far and away my favorite White Stripes song and I understand why the other reviewer makes that point in relation to the Black Keys.

B) In linking this intense-blues-groover to the Rolling Stones in their heyday, I would specifically point to I Just Want To See His Face, the fragmentary gospel-blues-from-the-jungle groove near the end of Exile On Main Street.

I have just started exploring the Black Keys lately on the recommendation of a friend and up to now, have very much liked but not fallen in love with this band. However, Chulahoma stopped me dead in my tracks and just knocked me out. This is such intense, grooving blues, elastic without being jammy, can't say enough about it. The vocals are mixed evenly with guitar and drums giving the effect of an album of near-insturmentals. This is a good thing.

If you are coming at this record from a rock and roll fan perspective, it will naturally lead you to the deep-blues of Junior Kimbrough. Thank you Black Keys and Thank you Junior Kimbrough.
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