Black and Sparrow: Second Time Around
Klyph Black and John Sparrow’s latest effort finds the New York duo backed by a full band to deliver a satisfactory collection of cowboy-country-blues and Tom Petty-ish pop rock. The opening track “Gunslinger” shoots straight from the hip and kicks off the album in full-throttle cowboy fashion, complete with a Wild-West-meets-surf-rock breakdown. “Time To Go” is a rollicking, country railroad romp that recalls early Pigpen-fronted Grateful Dead tunes with rhythmic harmonica, honky-tonk piano and guitar licks, to boot. Black’s skillful dobro melodies add a laid-back playfulness to songs like “Tough Livin’.” “Just Let Me Go” is an odd mix of minor chords and major melodies that manages to make sense due to some fine slide guitar and a consistent background Dixieland banjo strum. “Down The Road” is the highlight here, with a solid four-onthe- floor beat accompanying a gritty dobro-versus-baritone guitar battle that turns into a masterfully timed 12-bar and back again. Second Time Around doesn’t offer many surprises, but it does keep on track throughout and holds up as a pleasant reminder of the country-blues of old.