In his liner notes to the 1999 Dwight Twilley rarities collection Between the Cracks, Vol. 1, Kevin Benjamin mentions that Twilley completed an album called The Luck in January 1994 that he then shopped to record companies, apparently without success; had it been released, it would have been his seventh album, the long-awaited follow-up to 1986's Wild Dogs. Instead, the world had to wait a little longer, and, earlier in 1999, Twilley released Tulsa, which contained the intended title song from The Luck, quickly followed by Between the Cracks, Vol. 1, which featured three more songs that Benjamin said had been intended for The Luck: "Oh Carrie," "Reach for the Sky," and "Perfect World." Two years later, there's finally a Twilley release called The Luck, which includes a different version of the title song, plus "Oh Carrie" and "Reach for the Sky," as well as a third song from Between the Cracks, Vol. 1, "Forget About It" (aka "Forget About It Baby," with Tom Petty on backing vocals), but not "Perfect World." In addition, there are 12 more tracks, for a running time of 65 minutes. How close this release comes to what Twilley shopped seven years ago may never be known, but whether one considers this the artist's lost seventh album or his brand-new eighth one, it is a fitting new chapter in Twilley's ongoing discography. For his fans, the sound will be familiar, a magical cross between Sun Records-era Elvis Presley and Meet the Beatles! in which the rhythm guitars drive the melodic tunes, the drums boom on the two and four, Twilley's vocals are double-tracked and echoed as he sings lyrics of romance and self-assertion, and the listener is never far from another catchy chorus. Ever since "I'm on Fire" in 1975, Twilley's hook-filled music has been perfectly on track, even as his career has been a mess, and whenever he gets to put out a record, it's another sonic delight. He finishes this one with "Gave It All Up for Rock n' Roll," which might go down as his most personal, autobiographical statement, and invites into the studio a chorus of siblings -- Billy and Rocky Burnette, Bob, Mary Jo, and Susan Cowsill, and Debbie and Vicki Peterson of the Bangles -- to reiterate its heartfelt sentiments.
The Luck Review
by William Ruhlmann