Rosie Flores

Honky Tonk Reprise

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Rounder repackaged a late-'80s major-label recording by this Austin-based artist and topped it up to CD length with a half-dozen unreleased tracks done around the same time. Make no bones about it, Flores is a better-than-good singer and definitely feels her honky tonk music in her heart. But when one looks at her picture on the cover in a cowboy outfit, one sees someone dressing up to play a part, and unfortunately there are plenty of moments on the album when a similar lack of sincerity can be detected. That is, if the listener is still awake after some of the more lifeless country ballads, one of which eventually became a hit for country crooner Patty Loveless. Is the Flores version better? It is like comparing food from two different Waffle Houses. The meat of the material is produced by Pete Anderson, and he seems to have overdone it a bit, as the unreleased numbers done with a smaller group actually have somewhat more bite, partially due to the better pickers on board, such as guitarist Albert Lee. For Flores, going back to her roots was obviously a move that paid off artistically, but in retrospect the results aren't going to make anyone give away their Patsy Cline or Kitty Wells records.

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