Mark Lanegan: I'll Take Care of You

Mark Lanegan
I'll Take Care of You
Sub Pop

LACKING ANYTHING LIKE a "good" voice, Mark Lanegan's currency is an expressiveness that puts you right in his cranium. Without the postgrunge trappings of his night job with Screaming Trees, I'll Take Care of You feels like a good blues session, complete with horns, organ, and a collection of covers highlighting some of Lanegan's favorite, largely unsung songwriters. These include people like Tim Rose, whose only claim to fame was a cover of "Hey Joe" said to have influenced the Hendrix version, and whose "Boogie Boogie" is covered here. Lanegan channels Jim Morrison on the track, hinting at what the snake rider might have sounded like if he'd joined a British garage band.

Lanegan waxes desperate on the standard "Little Sadie," which sounds like it could have been taken from a 1920s field recording. He also welcomes Dinosaur Jr.'s Mike Johnson and Ben Shepherd (formerly of Soundgarden) as guests, but they all have the good sense to stay out of the way and let Lanegan's voice resonate with the scratchy texture of an old blues side. Ultimately, this album finds Lanegan singing like someone caught between the world of the living and the dead. Here's hoping he stays on our side of the fence.

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