Edge of Night (Dead Reckoning, 1996)
Reviewed by Norm Rosenfield
Mike Henderson packs a guitar and hunts down barrooms in search of aficionados of twang. "Wherever You Are" churns out a train rhythm similar to that evoked in Fleetwood Mac's "World Turning," but with more vocal bite. The traditional stream of Henderson's musical consciousness is amply displayed on "Nobody's Fault But Mine." His National Steel and mandolin sing throughout the track, which segues into the title cut, unfortunately, one of the weaker moments of the album. The song is a flat, slow ballad, never picking up steam. The best uptempo cut is "One Foot in the Honky Tonk" - great swampy guitar sounds with a touch of bayou violin and acoustic slide. The centerpiece here, though, is Pop Staples' "This May Be the Last Time," continuing in the swampy locale with generous portions of gospel soul. The ambiance of this track magically transports the listener to those classic Chicago Chess sessions. Not an easy trick to pull off in 1996. This is the crowning achievement of Henderson's sparse production philosophy. When it works, it's remarkable, while, at times, it falls short.