Cat Power's second collection of cover songs for dreary days (2000's The Covers Record
was the first), the ever-mysterious Chan Marshall is joined here by her newish cohorts, the Dirty Delta Blues Band. Her backing band here eschews big production and string arrangements in favor of a more skeletal, bluesy, and languid approach. Her voice, of course, remains extraordinary--sent from the heavens and perfectly marred by cigarettes. Marshall takes the usual liberties with melody, as on opener "New York," made popular by Ol' Blue Eyes himself (who wouldn't recognize this were it not for the lyrics). "Ramblin (Wo)man" is fairly true to Hank Williams's original, despite the extra syllable, and is wonderfully suited for Marshall's voice. The Highwaymen's "Silver Stallion" may be the finest track on the album, with Marshall and an acoustic slide guitar taking the lead, accompanied by some distant, ambient guitar work. James Brown's "Lost Someone" is also quite nice, an opportunity to explore the many dynamics of that aforementioned ethereal voice. Jukebox
closes with three appropriate covers of other artists often mentioned in Cat Power reviews: Billie Holiday's "Can't Explain;" "Woman Left Lonely," popularized by Janis Joplin; and Joni Mitchell's "Blue." This record's solid, but when that next batch of originals comes around, one can only hope for some of the exuberant risk-taking that made previous outings so stellar. --Jason Pace
2008 release from this critically acclaimed singer/songwriter, her second album of cover versions. Jukebox is Cat's tribute to the great vocalists who've influenced and inspired her over the years. This album finds Cat backed by Dirty Delta Blues (Judah Bauer, Gregg Foreman, Jim White, Erik Papparazzi). Guest appearances: Spooner Oldham (Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan), Larry McDonald (Toots & The Maytals, Taj Mahal), Teenie Hodges (Al Green, Memphis Rhythm Band), and Matt Sweeney (Chavez, Will Oldham). 12 tracks including 'New York', 'Lord, Help The Poor And Needy' and more.