Charlie Robison

Good Times

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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.

While categories like alternative country can help identify the kind of music a certain artist plays, they can also be confusing. If a singer like Charlie Robison plays country music but doesn't receive play on mainstream country music stations, does that automatically make him alternative? Or do lyrics like "For your footprint in the sand, did you hear the ocean singin'" make him a singer/songwriter with country backing? Good Times conjures up such questions because Robison isn't a mainstream country singer, but seems like he's playing country music because it's part of who he is and how he thinks, not because a friend loaned him a George Jones album in college. The title cut is an upbeat ode to having a big time by getting stoned out of one's gourd, the type of song Merle Haggard used to toss off without a thought. "The Bottom," on the other hand, is a sad weeper about the woman who got away, a song that Jones might've sung in his heyday. Then again, Robison's entertaining and raunchy "Love Means Never Having to Say You're Hungry" probably couldn't be played on country radio even if a DJ wanted to. It's times like these when Robison sounds a bit too clever for straight country. His band, however, utilizes acoustic guitars, fiddles, and Dobros, and these arrangements keep the whole affair grounded. Good Times finally qualifies as solid country release that will nonetheless appeal to the alternative crowd.

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