Webb Wilder

Scattered, Smothered and Covered: A Webb Wilder Overview

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Given his fondness for fedoras, his retro-cool fashion sense, and quirky sense of humor, Webb Wilder has long been one of those acts often dismissed as a gimmick without much weight behind the music, which is a wildly unfair assessment of the man's work. Wilder's hot-wired blend of rock and country-twang was certainly ahead of the curve when he cut the bulk of his recordings, between 1989 and 1995, and the cool strength of his voice was matched by the firepower of his guitar work; the man also had a great ear for a pop hook, either from his own pen or as displayed by his great taste in covers (how many roots rockers would cover Waylon Jennings, the Music Machine and the Small Faces on the same album?). Scattered, Smothered and Covered: A Webb Wilder Overview is a less than perfect summation of Wilder's career -- it features cuts from his fourth and fifth albums, Town & Country and Acres of Suede, both of which were released by the noted Texas independent label Watermelon Records, as well as Wilder's debut, It Came From Nashville, which was reissued by Watermelon after its original 1986 edition went out of print. In short, this is essentially the best of Webb Wilder's Watermelon catalog, and as a consequence leaves two of his better albums, Hybrid Vigor and Doo Dad, out of the picture. But given the seeming unavailability of that material, Scattered, Smothered and Covered offers a solid cross-section of three good-to-great albums, and gets the basics of his gutsy rock and witty pop with commendable accuracy. Until someone reissues Wilder's Watermelon records, this compilation will fill the gap pretty well, and besides, you don't want to be without a recording of the official Webb Wilder credo -- "Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em." Good stuff.

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