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Doug Cox/Salil Bhatt

Slide to Freedom 2: Make a Better World

(Northern Blues; US: 31 Mar 2009; UK: 21 Sep 2009)

Slide To Freedom 2:  Make a Better World is an album of mingled slide guitars: One played by a Canadian, the other by an Indian. Salil Bhatt’s instrument, the Mohan Veena, is a modified 20-string variant pioneered by his pandit father, V.M. Bhatt, who makes a guest appearance. There is singing from New Orleans Cajun/soulsman John Boutté and an expressive tabla courtesy of Ramkumar Mishra. The ethereal diffusions of the classical Indian sitar get a fine grounding from the North American blues-groove. Slide to Freedom 2 is at its strongest when the two cultures are pulling together, and enjoyment could be had until Boutté appeared, urging us all to join hands because, “Wouldn’t it be a pleasant sight to see ... the world full of happiness.” His voice, in contrast to the slim zing of the strings, seems grating, and his sentiments have been said before. International hand-holding harmony is there in the instruments. There was no need to underline it with words.

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