CD Review: Nathaniel Mayer

Why Won't You Let Me Be Black (Alive Naturalsound)

In the early days of this century, a generation of Motor City punks connected the generational dots between their swagger and that of this late, gravel-throated godfather, aiding in his brief reappearance on the scene. Why Won't You Let Me Be Black? is culled from the same sessions that spawned 2007's Why Don't You Give It to Me? On that earlier disc, members of the Dirtbombs, Outrageous Cherry and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach accompanied Mayer as he cut loose in a most unapologetic manner, heaving his case-hardened, street-corner soul against a wall of post-Stooges garage mayhem. Black plays much the same but more often turns the spotlight in the direction of Mayer's original turf. The ballads "If You Would Be My Guide" and "The Girl Next Door" are relatively mellow rest stops for this badass crew. A pair of acoustic tracks from a radio appearance are added gems. If these are leftovers, they are leftovers worth savoring.

Duane Verh

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