The Sprague Brothers

The Song

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The Sprague Brothers play rockabilly and Merseybeat-influenced roots rock with such a sure touch that at their best, it's hard to tell their stuff from actual vintage material, which is less a product of worrying every sonic detail into the ground than capturing the heart and soul of the music on tape. After a spell on Hightone, the Sprague Brothers are once again recording for their own Wichita Falls label, and 2006's The Song shows these proud sons of the Lone Star State are still finding plenty of inspiration in their hometown's musical past. Guitarist and songwriter Frank Lee Sprague is the star of this show, picking up a storm and writing tunes that mine classic themes with a fresh feel and honest enthusiasm, while his brother Christopher Sprague lays down the big beat without making a fuss and lends some really splendid harmonies to this set. One can hear clear echoes of Buddy Holly ("Right Time 4 Love," the Searchers ("Money Makes the Man" and the Everly Brothers ("There's Always a Price to Pay") in these songs and others, but the craft and the love of the music is strong enough that the Sprague Brothers sound like kindred spirits of these masters rather than just another band trying to walk in their footsteps. The Song tends to sound like a collection of singles rather than a real-deal album -- the diversity of textures sometimes prevents this from cohering as well as one might wish -- but those phantom singles are records well-worth hearing, and anyone with a passion for old-school rock & roll will get a big smile from this disc.

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