The Shacklefords

Until You've Heard the Shacklefords, You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet

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"An interesting combination of folk and country music presented in an honest, warm, and appealing manner" boasts the banner on the back sleeve. Ah, whatever happened to the days when they'd try to sell music with ad copy written in a lingo more suited for a property insurance brochure! To "honest, warm and appealing" they could have added "bland," despite the fact that most of the songs were written, together or separately, by Lee Hazlewood and his sometime cohort Marty Cooper. And, yes, even though ace session men like James Burton, Hal Blaine, Billy Strange, and Al Casey play on the album. It's wholesome, pretty sterile whitebread folk-country, in the manner of many early-'60s folk LPs that were trying to be variety show entertainment more than they were a vehicle for personal expression, or steeped in authentic folk music. Just one song, "Our Little Boy Blue," has the sort of eccentricity typical of much of Hazlewood's stranger work, with his dust-dry narration of a lyric impossible to pigeonhole as either cornball or put-on satire. Hazlewood's unmistakably deep, debauched-Johnny Cash-style vocals are heard from time to time (usually in the background), but only Hazlewood fanatics will want this in their collection.