The Derailers

Soldiers of Love

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Try to imagine, if you can, what the Clarks or the dB's would sound like had they come up playing in dive bars in Bakersfield, California -- they probably would've ended up with a sound something like that of the Derailers -- a sharp, disciplined, but sometimes tongue-in-cheek fusion of Buck Owens-style desert honky tonk, jangly guitar pop, and rockabilly swagger. How this band found itself in the stable of a label like Palo Duro (which is explicitly devoted to Texas-style country music) is a mystery, but not one that needs to be unraveled any time soon. For now, just let yourself luxuriate in the wry "She's a Lot Like Texas" (you know, beautiful and wild and free, etc.), the sturdily rocking "Get 'Er Done," and the Chuck Berry-meets-Buck Owens blues rave-up "Hey, Valerie!." The Derailers fun version of the old Arthur Alexander hit "Soldier of Love" (which was written by Buzz Cason, this album's producer) is a sweetly kitschy gem, and if "An American Man" comes across as a clumsy Johnny Cash parody and "It's Never Too Late for a Party" comes across like a clumsy Buck Owens parody, well, it's all in good fun.

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