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“Red Dog Tracks” was first released in 2005, the third well-received collaboration between veteran singer/songwriter Chip Taylor and then newcomer Carrie Rodriguez. After being out of print for some time, this 10th anniversary edition adds a trio of bonus tracks to the already impressive collection.
Taylor wrote or co-wrote all but four of the 16 tunes. Rodriguez co-wrote one of the better tracks, the sentimental ballad “Once Again, One Day..Will You Be Mine” that prominently features Rodriguez on fiddle. Rodriguez’s fiddle is also nicely showcased in her arrangement of the traditional instrumental “Elzick’s Farewell. Hank Williams’ “I Can’t Help It” and Clarence Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It” are also nicely chosen covers.
Taylor’s “Private Thoughts” features a tasteful solo from guitarist Bill Frisell. The bouncy “Keep Your Hat on Jenny” gets two treatments, the first an effective folksy Appalachian arrangement and the latter a bluesy jam session that shines a spotlight on the individual musicians as Taylor calls them out for solos.
Of the bonus material, most impressive is Rodriguez’s take on the haunting traditional murder ballad “Willow Garden.” Also effective are an early version of Taylor’s “Unglorious Hallelujah” as well as an alternate rendition of the title track.
In addition to Frisell (electric guitar), stellar instrumentation throughout by Jim Whitney (upright bass), Kenny Wolleson (drums) and Richie Stearns effectively supports the smooth harmonies of Taylor (acoustic guitar, harmonica) and Rodriguez (fiddle). Produced by Taylor and Rodriguez, this reissue of the excellent 2005 album has prompted a reunion tour for 2016.