Home Read Classic Album Review: Little Axe | Hard Grind

Classic Album Review: Little Axe | Hard Grind

Blues guitar & dub sonics are blended into dreamy, effects-drenched groove rides.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Film geeks know that Quentin Tarantino “borrowed” much of Reservoir Dogs’ plotline from the Hong Kong flick City On Fire. Likewise, music geeks know that Moby’s Play was not the first disc to combine ambient-dub electronica and Delta blues.

That honour belongs to Skip McDonald, a blues guitarist who goes by the handle Little Axe and has been experimenting with dub-blues all the way back to 1994’s The Wolf That House Built. His third album Hard Grind, which reunites him with former Tackhead bandmate and dub production whiz Adrian Sherwood, picks up Wolf’s trail. McDonald supplies the haunting slide guitars, the vintage bluesman samples and even the bass and keyboards. Sherwood supplies the trippy, freewheeling production that transforms these organic elements into dreamy, effects-drenched groove rides that take you from Jamaica to the juke joint and back again.


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