The Wagoneers

Stout & High

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An exceptional debut from the Wagoneers, an Austin-based quartet that combined edgy country and rockabilly. Led by lead singer and principle songwriter Monte Warden, the Wagoneers' sound borrowed heavily from the country leanings of Buddy Holly and his teenage collaboration with fellow Texan Bob Montgomery. Warden has a magnetism which jumps from the grooves, and lead guitarist Brent Wilson adds tight harmony à la Bob to Buddy, or Phil to Don Everly, and capably sings lead on his own "Lie and Say You Love Me." Aficionados of pedal steel guitar will delight in the understated but expressive playing by veteran Katon Roberts. There really isn't a weak cut here, and co-label head and legendary trumpet player Herb Alpert even lends his legendary trumpet -- in a magnificent Tex-Mex solo flourish -- at the intro of the title track, a story song about the historic fall of the Alamo. Although the band had a minor hit with "I Wanna Know Her Again," the band broke up after two albums and Warden went on to a solo career and followed more of a rootsy/pop muse, but he sounds the most natural singing the country stuff. The first country album released by A&M, the Wagoneers were a precursor to kindred but more successful bands like the Mavericks. Produced by notable Nashville producer Emory Gordy, Jr., if this record had been released three or four years later, it might have stood a better commercial chance.

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