Charcoal Lane

Charcoal Lane

Archie Roach got some of his toughest songs from experience: "Took the Children Away," the standout of his debut album, is about the Australian government forcibly separating the children of indigenous families—something that Roach lived through as a child. Aboriginal struggles are a running theme on this album, whether on the uplifting "Native Born" or the lament "Beautiful Child." Producer Paul Kelly, an Australian star himself, keeps Roach's deep voice and acoustic guitar upfront. "Down City Streets" adds organ and harmonies evoking The Band.

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