Farm Dogs

Last Stand in Open Country

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Best known for his work as lyricist with Elton John, Farm Dogs is the dream band Bernie Taupin always wanted to form. Collaborating with veteran musicians Jim Cregan, Dennis Tufano, and Robin Le Mesurier, Taupin made a fine acoustic-oriented record that combines rootsy country, blues, and folk music with his immense talent as a storyteller. Much of this record recalls some of the early and more countrified work with Elton during the Tumbleweed Connection period, and lyrically it stands up to his best efforts. The songs are steeped with Americana and come alive with colorful and humorously twisted wordplay, while the folky instrumental backing and three- and four-part harmonies give the record a homey, front-porch quality. While there might not be anything as awe-inspiring as "Your Song," or "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," Last Stand in Open Country has plenty of highlights. Taupin and company pull out the stops on songs such as the clever-talking blues of "Ballad of Dennis Hopper and Harry Dean," and the vivid imagery of "Burn This Bed" and "Barstool."

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