The Codetalkers

Deluxe Edition

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The self-titled debut album by the Code Talkers originally came out in 2001, but that self-released edition had very limited distribution, and it wasn't until 2004's reissue under the title Deluxe Edition that most fans of Col. Bruce Hampton's previous outfits discovered his new incarnation. A shame, since these are among Hampton's best songs; freed from the noodly tendencies of the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Hampton and his co-leader, Bobby Lee Rodgers, here venture closer to the skewed pop of NRBQ. (Actually, the ultraquirky "Rice Clients" steers straight to They Might Be Giants land.) The songs are catchy in a variety of roots rocking styles, with the rockabilly snap of "Beggin'" and the dry pop/rock wit of "Body in the Lake" particular highlights. The difference between the out of print original copy and Deluxe Edition is new artwork and the attention of a minor new song, a Hampton-Rodgers duet called "Something Wrong." If you have the first edition, giving Deluxe Edition a pass won't be a hardship, but Hampton fans and other aficionados of the poppier side of jam bands should seek it out.

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