The Wagoneers

Good Fortune

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Coming on the heels of their premiere hit CD, Stout & High, this second release is more than just disappointing. The band that had taken traditional country & western music by the boot straps and brought it back into the limelight failed miserably to repeat their hat trick a second time. While the talent is there, the energy and enthusiasm are not. At best, this is a third-rate recording that appears to have been done in a hurry with little or no concern for the end result. Sadly, the production is more in tune to pop music, and lead singer Monte Warden's leanings in that direction are killing to the original spirit of the Wagoneers. As if an omen of what was to come, the album starts off with a Warden-Mas Palermo co-write that seemingly reflects Warden's plans for a solo career. Still, there are moments when the band comes around. Ahead of their time and making every cut count on Stout & High, they recapture their foresight on "Por Favor Senior," which foreshadows the early sound of future Nashville hitmakers the Mavericks. An all-star lineup of talent makes the failure of this project all the more baffling. Sleepy LaBeef, Glen Duncan, Glen D. Hardin, and pedal steel provided by Kayton Roberts should add up to success. Warden, always the main songwriter, exhibits some of the old zest when he joins six-string bassist Craig Pettigrew in the writing of "Take Me." The predecessors of the likes of Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, High Noon, and the Lucky Stars will always be regarded as pioneers who point back to tradition, substance, and real country & western music the way it's supposed to be done in spite of their drastic plunge into oblivion.

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