This release complies two John Lurie film scores from the mid-'80s; the first for the Jim Jarmusch indie classic Down By Law and the second for Bette Gordon's lesser-known Variety. Listeners familiar with Lurie's flagship project, the Lounge Lizards, or other groups from the downtown New York scene of the day should find the seedy, avant-noir vibe of Down By Law immediately familiar. This should come as no surprise as a number of musicians from that project (guitarists Marc Ribot and Arto Lindsay, percussionist E.J. Rodriguez, etc.) are also represented here.
His Japanese fans reverently dubbed Fenton Robinson "the mellow blues genius" because of his ultra-smooth vocals and jazz-inflected guitar work. But beneath the obvious subtlety resides a spark of constant regeneration – Robinson tirelessly strives to invent something fresh and vital whenever he's near a bandstand. The soft-spoken Mississippi native got his career going in Memphis, where he'd moved at age 16. First, Rosco Gordon used him on a 1956 session for Duke that produced "Keep on Doggin'." The next year, Fenton made his own debut as a leader for the Bihari Brothers' Meteor label with his first reading of "Tennessee Woman." His band, the Dukes, included mentor Charles McGowan on guitar. T-Bone Walker and B.B. King were Robinson's idols.