Coal Porters – Durango

January 01, 1970



You have to give Sid Griffin credit. Its one thing to
emulate your influences but it’s quite another to be able to document them as
an author and a scholar. Griffin’s devotion to his forebears is literally a
matter of record; a well-published writer and reviewer, his devotion to all
things Byrds, Burritos and Dylan ensures both an air of authenticity and a
profound credibility that few of his peers possess. The fact is, Griffin’s
track record speaks for itself, beginning with the fabled west coast outfit The
Long Ryders, continuing through an abbreviated solo stint, and now up into the
present with his British-based Coal Porters. (He’s also resurrected the Ryders
on occasion, as documented here.)


Remarkably, he’s able to hold any extraneous ambitions in
check, steering the band towards unplugged bluegrass and doing so with an edge
and affinity that brings continued credibility to this well-honed genre.  The band sticks with traditional trappings
-fiddles, banjo, mandolin, Dobro and the like – but their playing exhibits an
exuberance and commitment that belies any sense of posturing or pretense.
They’re most adept at replaying familiar fare and adapting it to their back
porch designs, as reflected in a searing take on Neil Young’s “Like a
Hurricane” that’s every bit as compelling as the original, and a masterful redo
of Peter Rowan’s “Moonlight Midnight” in which its composer contributes to the
fray.  Original offerings like the rowdy
“Let’s Say Goodbye (Like We Said Hello),” a compelling “No More Chains” or the
incisive anti-war ballad “Permanent Twilight” ring with equal authority while
maintaining that unpretentious provincial affinity.


Seven albums on, the Coal Porters have a reputation they can
bank on. And with #Durango# this
durable bunch has successfully added even more fuel to their fire.


Standout Tracks:
“Midnight Moonlight,” “Like a Hurricane,” “Permanent Twilight” LEE ZIMMERMAN



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