Music legends get new airing

ROBBIE'S BACK: Just because he's doing a couple of TV shows - "Late Night with David Letterman" tonight, "The View" tomorrow - is no reason to conclude Robbie Robertson will be hitting the road again.

The guy famously gave up touring decades ago in the rockumentary "The Last Waltz." Still, there's juicy news for fans. Robertson's "How To Become Clairvoyant" (429 Records, A), reason for the TV appearances, is absolutely the most satisfying of five "solo" albums he's put out since departing the Band.

That's to say, it's closest to those group projects in its dreamy nature, spooky myth-building and warm, spirited country gospel underpinnings, as the man probes the vagaries of life, his exit strategies (like the self-referential "He Don't Live Here No More") and our wish for certainty (ergo the title track).

What really kicks up this set is his support team. Eric Clapton co-wrote and plays nimble acoustic guitar on three songs and sings on one. Stevie Winwood warms the room on Hammond organ. Robert Randolph adds some scorching sacred steel. And gospel-fired backup singers fill the holes around Robertson's barely-there singing voice, the real reason that he can't tour, I believe.

 

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