Roots Rock Action Figures

Calling Dr. Strong

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In 1968, this collection would have found a place on Top 40 AM radio alongside the Beatles, Buck Owens, the Four Tops, and the Beach Boys. In the world of the '90s, it is not going to be so easy for this wild bunch of seasoned industry vets to get heard. Appealing and intoxicating, the band, which includes onetime Shaver producer R.S. Field, rocks and rolls with deeply planted roots. Tunes written by Field and such notables as the legendary Billy Joe Shaver, Nashville cat Webb Wilder, and honky tonk guitar wonder Mike Henderson, give this project plenty of substance. Impressive is the all-instrumental "Twangeaux," with surf guitar overtones and plenty of twangy riffs. A marriage of British Invasion sounds and Detroit rock seems to be the inspiration for "No Great Shakes," while "Powerful Stuff" reflects a metropolitan blues edge. Even Tommy James & the Shondells seem to be represented within the arrangement of "A Heart She Can't Beat." The final cut, "Secret Heart," is reminiscent of the simple, but effective style of the sweet love songs commonly heard on '60s AM radio and favored by teens. An interesting project from a band that is appropriately titled, this includes some fine musicianship. This music is anything but middle of the road.

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