Andy Roberts

Urban Cowboy

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

Urban Cowboy, its title predating the John Travolta movie popularization of that phrase by seven years, typified both why folk-rock fans have a soft spot for Andy Roberts, and why he'll never have a wide following. It falls between the average and excellent in quality, with enough good moments and aspects to make it worth a spin, but not enough quality or energy to get too excited about. It's not quite as good as his earlier 1970s albums either, but it's not too far off the mark of those, with a similar unassuming blend of pop, country, and blues influences into an early-'70s pop/rock-folk sound. It might be more pleasant than attention-grabbing, and there might be too-strong echoes of others for some listeners' taste, with faint traces of James Taylor and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young here and there. Still, a few songs here are among Roberts' best, including the wistful country-folk title track, even if one of the lines gets kind of close to Neil Young's "Country Girl." "Elaine" is about as good a country blues-colored tune as he managed, and the memorably titled "Poison Apple Lady" a solid ballad. While it's not representative of the album as a whole, the clear standout is the magically haunting minor-keyed folk-rock of "All Around My Grandmother's Floor," which sounds like a lost British acid folk classic.

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