Long Way Around: An Anthology 1991 – 2001

In the liner notes for this anthology, Bradley Bambarger wrote

“The most compelling, communicative music resonates with a ‘cry,’ whether it embodies a wail of pain and despair or the not-so-dissimilar shouts of spiritual elation and sexual healing.  … [E]nduring music often echoes the real, remembered or empathetic cry of the listener.  Chris Whitley’s music – whether the dust-bowl balladry on Living with the Law, the keening hard-rock of Din of Ecstasy or the synthetic poetics that power Rocket House – is suffused with the deepest blues feeling.  And feeling is the essence of form with Whitley, so that no matter the particular idiom of a recording, his music always sounds recognizably, immutably him; moreover, it is in his personally authentic, emotive sound that the fortunate listener can hear a little bit of himself ….”

Bambarger’s description of Chris’s music captures so well what those of us who “get” Chris get:  a friend whom we may have never met but whom we feel we know and who seems to know us – the most intimate essence of us that we almost forget until his music summons it.

LWA attempts to capture a decade of Chris’s evolution, from the sonic landscapes of LWTL to the simple beauty of Dirt Floor to the studio-as-instrument of Rocket House.  The anthology also provides some previously unreleased demos (e.g., Home Is Where … and the only-available-here Bliss to Breakdown) and alternate mixes (e.g., WPL and Narcotic Prayer – both of which those familiar with Danny Kadar’s alternate “raw” mix of Din of Ecstasy will recognize).  Some may ask whether it’s worth the price of admission to buy this CD, to which I reply with a resounding “YES!” – even if only for Bliss and the moody art, a couple of examples of which include

The CD insert also contains Bambarger’s full liner notes, but they are almost impossible to read:

Fortunately, you can read the full essay in the LWA promo materials Hiroshi Suda shared with the ATCW group, along with a couple reviews here.


Very little other media are available for LWA, but you can listen to Chris’s oh-so-missed voice as he discusses some aspects of his music in these audio promo files:

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