Lucky Tomblin / Lucky Tomblin Band

In a Honky-Tonk Mood

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Yes, they certainly are in a honky tonk mood, and if that makes for an album that sounds a bit samey and formulaic by the end, so be it -- some structures become formulas because they work so well, and this is one of them. Make no mistake: these are not innovators, not hungry youngsters out to set the world of country music and Western swing on its ear. They're pros. And they know that being professional honky tonkers means that you have to have fun, so that's what they do, and of course it's infectious. Tomblin himself sings lead on about half the songs, and does a good job, but apart from his brilliant performance on "There She Goes," the best moments come when Redd Volkaert stretches out and shows his mettle on the Telecaster, and when bassist Sarah Brown gets her turn at the mike (on the classic "Trouble in Mind" and Moon Mullican's "Lonesome Hearted Blues"). "Cold War" wins the award for Best Use of an Obsolete Political Analogy in a Baby-Come-Back Song. The album's only real flub is the embarrassing "Squaws Along the Yukon," which is both racially and sexually retrograde enough to make you want to make a contribution to a politically correct charity. Highly recommended overall.

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