Hoyt Axton

Less Than the Song

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There is a concept at work on Less Than the Song, at least in terms of presentation. The songs are stripped to the bone with Axton's giant voice out front, an acoustic guitar behind, and smatterings of other instruments here and there for color -- but no drum kit. It's an unusual and risky blend considering that Less Than the Song was Axton's debut for A&M, but the result is gratifying. Many casual listeners may not even note the absence of drums, and the songs are nearly all Axton's. "Sweet Misery" was perhaps too bluesy for country radio and failed as a single, but it's one of Axton's classics. The halting piano rhythm of "Oklahoma Song" and the startling rooster sounds on "Mexico City Hangover" show that Less Than the Song is really a fairly quirky, experimental album disguised as a commercial country record.

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