92. "Black and White Blues"
Does Jack White know about this one? Kurt Cobain apparently recorded this brief acoustic guitar ragtime shuffle in the late Eighties, perhaps even before Fecal Matter morphed into Nirvana. It's not elegant, but it is endearing, with the strings buzzing and a few notes erroneously muted as Cobain tries to untangle the intricate picking patterns and rhythms of the primitive American blues. Warped by the buzz of a tape machine and a cheap microphone, it could even slip into those Paramount Records boxsets White's been building. Onetime punk rockers who turn toward folk – or, at the least, folk-rock – as they age are legion. That path has long seemed like an obvious one for Cobain, had he survived beyond 27. But "Black and White Blues," which came long before the year that punk broke, makes his interests in rock & roll's basics both clear and incredibly frustrating: Cobain might've made an incredible aging bluesman, and these two minutes excepted, we'll never really know. GRAYSON HAVER CURRIN