Music compilation blends together

Grade: B-

The inevitable has happened.

The 27-year-old magazine High Times, which devotes itself to the legalization of marijuana, has now released a two CD set that listeners can, well, party to.

And although the ideas behind "Rip this Joint" supporting the counterculture of marijuana are questionable, the music definitely is not. Featuring 23 different tracks, by the likes of The String Cheese Incident, Deep Banana Blackout and Leftover Salmon, the songs are quite alive with jazzy instrumentation that is fresh, forcing the foot to tap to it. The music is like walking into a smoky saloon, with wild piano music and people dancing drunk, or under the influence of another substance that's not as legal.

The opening song for the first disc is definitely catchy with the title "Breathe," by Keller Williams. The melody is ripe and brings the listener in, a definite must for musical compilations to keep the listener hooked. Many of the other songs on the first CD are alive and ecstatic thriving on the sounds of grassroots, reggae and country.

With such upbeat music, it's a wonder why someone would seriously need help from an illegal substance. The music in itself is definitely feel good. Scratch guitars, saxophones and melodies that, perhaps, are sung by intoxicated lead singers.

And that's just the first CD.

The second disc rips the listener open with the lead vocal screaming, "right!" while guitar playing, banging drums and the squeals of the synthesizer ring in the background. Thanks to Les Claypool's "Riddles Are Around Tonight," the second CD breaks open the listener with more hyper music.

Right in the middle of the second CD is the song "Down to Seeds and Stems Again Blues," by Commander Cody and His East Coast Airmen, which interludes with graceful piano before the grassroots are heard with the lyrics about cruel love.

But there is a re-occurring problem with this CD, although it is upbeat and catchy to listen to, many of the tracks sound very similar and aren't distinguishable. There just aren't one or two songs that stick out.

Instead, the songs on both CDs blend together and all sound the same with their jazzy reggae and country backbones.

Sometimes throughout both CD's, it feels like the '70s are coming back as well. History does repeat itself.

But "Rip this Joint" cannot be found in stores, which shouldn't come as a surprise. This two-hour CD set can be found online at www.KingBuscuitRadio.com, www.HighTimes.com and www.BurleyTV.com.


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