The long-awaited follow-up to their rowdy self-titled 2000 debut, A Fix Back East showcases a new, darker side of the Ramblers. Whereas their first record consisted almost entirely of upbeat traditionals infused with a raucous punk energy, eight of the 11 songs on A Fix are Michael Tarbox originals, and most of those are very dark, atmospheric hellhound-haunted dirges. At points, such as the Dock Boggs’ cover “Country Blues,” Tarbox’s voice resembles an aging Dylan’s low growl. His slide guitar work, a thing of legend in Boston and abroad, is haunted, despairing at some points and utterly lacerating at others. The end result may not be as jumping as the previous record, but it’s certainly deeper and more affecting. In fact, since the bulk of the material covered consists of Tarbox’s hard-bitten grinders, the traditionals – which might well have been outtakes from the first record – seem a bit out of place in the wider context. Still, taken as a whole, it’s a brilliant, unexpected effort from one of Boston’s best bands.