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T Bone Burnett - Twenty Twenty: The Essential T Bone Burnett

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


T. Bone Burnett - Twenty Twenty: The Essential T. Bone Burnett

T. Bone Burnett - Twenty Twenty: The Essential T. Bone Burnett

Legacy Recordings

The Bottom Line

If you want a definition of the Americana genre, look no further than T Bone Burnett. Proving conclusively that one artist is capable of playing and singing songs that belong on every branch of the Americana music tree - from blues to country to rock - T Bone here collects songs from nine of his albums released from 1976 to 1992, as well as unreleased tracks and rarities, putting them together seamlessly, sounding as though they were all recorded yesterday. A splendid "Essential" collection.
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  • "Fatally Beautiful"
  • "The People's Limousine"
  • "Shut It Tight"
  • "Song to a Dead Man"
  • "River of Love"


  • None.


  • Includes tracks from each of T Bone's solo albums from several label catalogs.
  • Features the Alpha Band, formed by fellow members of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue.
  • Includes "The People's Limousine," recorded with Elvis Costello as "The Coward Brothers."

Guide Review - T Bone Burnett - Twenty Twenty: The Essential T Bone Burnett

There is no way to thoughtfully, thoroughly discuss T Bone Burnett in the space here. Although these days most folks think of him as the Grammy-winning producer of the phenomenally successful "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack and its followup discs, T Bone has been writing and singing himself for decades, as well as producing such folk as Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, k.d. lang, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, and Ralph Stanley, to name a few. He's a composer, a director, and an accomplished singer.

With a full 40 tracks, The Essential T Bone shows how one man can illustrate the evolution of Americana music. He obviously knows every branch of American music is related to that one strong root and he interweaves these similarities perfectly, whether he's taking on a gentle hillbilly song like "Shut It Tight" or playing hard rock with a killer-cold message like "Fatally Beautiful" (featuring Pete Townsend on guitar).

There is, in fact, so much music on these two discs it's hard to absorb it all in just a few listens. From T Bone's off-kilter re-imaging of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" to his own bizarre story- tale "Hefner and Disney," there are songs here that could appeal to fans of every genre, or to people like me, who enjoy it all and the just plain weird shit that comes out of it. I could fill this space just listing all the people T Bone's worked with or praising his songwriting skills. I guess all I can say is give it a try. You'll find something you like.

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