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Author Archives: Rick Allen

Claude Hay

Deep Fried Satisfied
Ingot Rock
 
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Australian Claude Hay is an intensely spirited one-man band. He works himself into such a frenzy performing his multi-layered songs (“How Can You Live Without Yourself”) they become improvisation-like outpourings of a man possessed. Whatever his inspiration, Hay has a knack for writing unique songs. A superf luous cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” […]

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Hot Club of Cowtown

What Makes Bob Holler
Proper Records
 
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Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys and Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli’s Hot Club both blended early 20th century blues and jazz with the folk music of their culture. Both featured hot-shot fiddlers and guitarists, and both operated in their classic form from 1934 to 1948-’49, so they may have been aware of (and influenced […]

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Ian Moore

El Sonido Nuevo
Sparkle & Shine
 
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Ian Moore and his gang make such a grand noise it’s hard to believe they’re only a trio. Moore and bass player Matt Harris wrote this disc full of high-quality pop music that has a welcome dose of swagger. All three players, including drummer Kyle Schneider, carry their share of musical weight, but Moore stands […]

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Brian Wright

House On Fire
Sugar Hill
 
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Brian Wright draws on the stylistic legacies of an eclectic bunch of influences, some quite obvious. There’s no mistaking his debt to classic Velvet Underground in “Striking Matches,” but less obvious is the sense of abandon mixed with desperation that ties it to the music of Roky Erickson’s 13th Floor Elevators. Wright plays all instruments […]

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Amber Digby & Justin Trevino, Curtis Potter, Tony Booth, Darrell McCall, Dottsy

Keepin’ Up Appearances, The Survivors, Meet Me In Texas
Heart Of Texas Records
 
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Heart Of Texas Records holds the line against the carpetbagger forces of “modern” country music, producing the kind of country best played on honky tonk jukeboxes and the radios of American-made pickups. These three discs are among the best and most typical of the label’s recent releases from a roster of mostly-veteran country artists. Like […]

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Greg Allman

Low Country Blues
Rounder Records
 
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Allman’s solo albums have been good to excellent and generally more satisfying than most of the Allman Brothers post-Duane releases; they’re bluesier, darker, more down-home. With a band built around Mac “Dr. John” Rebenack on piano and Doyle Bramhall II on guitar, with Low Country Blues, Allman has made an album of the type many […]

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The Highwaymen

The Essential Highwaymen
Columbia/Legacy
 
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The first group of Highwaymen was a folk ensemble that flourished in the early ’60s. The Highwaymen of this release were a Traveling-Wilburys-type aggregate of four of country music’s biggest stars and songwriters – Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. They released three studio albums as a group but had already been […]

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Damon Fowler

Devil Got His Way
Blind Pig
 
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Damon Fowler has a smokyMemphis-like style of soul and blues at its peak on his third album. The combination infuses his originals (“After The Rain”) with a Southern rock feel that recalls Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Once In Awhile”), Little Feat (“Cypress In The Pines”), early Leon Russell, and even a touch of Lee Michaels, in “You […]

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David Dondero

A Pre-Existing Condition
Ghostmeat
 
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Folkie Dondero ranges from eclectic originals (“Not Everybody Loves Your Doggie Like You Do”) to uniquely interpreted covers including Lowell George’s hippie trucker ballad “Willin.’” Though it’s been done in just about every coffeehouse across America, it – and the rest of this disc – are quirky and likeable. Much of Dondero’s music owes a […]

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Big Head Todd

Big Head Blues Club: 100 Years of Robert Johnson
Ryko
 
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Doing an album of Robert Johnson songs may not be a particularly original idea, but it’s not a bad one. For this one, Todd Mohr and band have called upon veteran bluesmen to join them on takes that keep the spirit intact. It’s no surprise that B.B. King’s slow interpretation of “Crossroads Blues” gets top […]

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