Tompall Glaser

Great Tompall and His Outlaw Band

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The Great Tompall and His Outlaw Band has a bit of a similar party vibe as Songs of Shel Silverstein but it's a much looser party and probably a bit more fun, too. It's no mistake that Glaser's band gets a co-billing here: the focus isn't on a songwriter, it's on the music, which includes a lot of country standards given funky contemporary outlaw treatments. The album-opening "The Wild Side of Life" makes a bridge back to the spare, dusty original, but by the time the loose-limbed shuffle kicks in on Fred Rose's "We Live in Two Different Worlds," let alone the wild groove they lay down on Tommy Duncan's "Time Changes Everything," it's clear this is a richer, fuller album than Shel Silverstein. Make no mistake, Silverstein still has a significant presence here -- as Glaser cuts the hazy, lazy "When It Goes, It's Gone Girl," trips through "Broken Down Mama" (first aired on the U.K. LP Take the Singer with the Song) and turns "If I'd Only Come and Gone" into a lament that stretches far beyond its smutty title -- but mixed up with the old standards, a good Glaser original in "I Can't Remember," a terrific take on Waylon & Willie's "Good Hearted Woman," Jack Clement's cinematic "West Canterbury Subdivision Blues" -- whose wide vistas recall singles Tompall cut with his brothers in the '60s -- and the excellent Lee Fry tune "The Hunger," which Waylon later turned into a hit. All this makes for, in pure musical terms, the richest album Tompall cut for MGM, rivaling Charlie as the finest album Glaser made during his mid-'70s peak.

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