Beat Farmers

Poor and Famous

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The Beat Farmers' third album for MCA/Curb is also their most glossily commercial, a transparent attempt to dress up their rough-edged roots rock in more commercially-presentable duds. The fact that the subterfuge doesn't work not only isn't a failing, it's what gives the album its tension and makes it the most musically interesting and satisfying studio album since their indie debut, TALES OF THE NEW WEST.

The simple fact of the matter is that no band which features the wild-man bray of drummer/singer Country Dick Montana is ever going to sound too commercial. The best material here, like the sly "Socialite" and the wild "King of Sleaze"--one of two tracks featuring session god Jim Keltner deputized on drums, while Montana goes all out vocally--is as strong as anything the Beat Farmers ever did.

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