The Codetalkers feat. Col. Bruce Hampton: Deluxe Edition

The nonpareil blues, country and bluegrass-fusion brilliance of the Codetalkers can be traced to its legendary featured player, the ursine, craggy-voiced guitarist and “godfather of Southern alternative music,” Col. Bruce Hampton.

The Colonel’s inspired, genre-hopping “out there” songs, as much in the Zappa and Beefheart tradition as well as every blues great imaginable, are dwarfed only by his intense, multi-instrumental dexterity, and as former leader of the Hampton Grease Band, the seminal jamband Aquarium Rescue Unit and the spaced-out Fiji Mariners, the Codetalkers quartet, which he formed in 1999, is certainly his most accessible and probably his most note-for-note enjoyable ensemble yet.

Less in the spotlight here than with former groups, Hampton is more a team player in the Codetalkers, whose catalogue is as much about the original songs of sizzling guitarist, banjoist, singer and former Berklee College of Music professor Bobby Lee Rodgers as Hampton’s own.

Rodgers’ gems dominate this expanded re-issue of the band’s 2001 debut album, matching cuts like “Body in the Lake” (a sickly hilarious story of dead body disposal) with the rollicking country bounce of Hampton’s “Isles of Langerhan,” proving the two wry and dark-humored virtuosos are cut from the same cosmic cloth.

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