Peter Case has been consistently making great records since the Plimsouls first went into a recording studio in 1980, and while his solo albums for Vanguard Records haven't received the same degree of attention as his first two sets for Geffen (Peter Case and The Man With the Blue Postmodern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar, arguably his best and best-known records), it's certainly not a matter of his work not being up to snuff. Who's Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile? is a compilation album that presents three new tracks alongside 13 songs culled from the albums Torn Again, Full Service No Waiting, Flying Saucer Blues, and Beeline, and if you want a potent reminder of just how good a songwriter Case is, and how well he can make his material work in the studio, this album offers the evidence in spades. From the clean-lined character study of "Spell of Wheels" to the wild shaggy dog story of "Two Heroes," Case is a born storyteller who can get the details of a whole life down in three or four minutes, and his musical instincts range from the rockabilly sway of "Coulda Woulda Shoulda," the lean folkie warmth of "Blind Luck," and the blues-infused stomp of "Two Heroes" while all reflecting his sharp but open-hearted personality. And the new material proves the guy still has the goods, with the new live recording of the title track showing that Case remains a potent and passionate live performer and "Wake Up Call" offering a musically and lyrically edgy editorial on the war in Iraq. If you're unfamiliar with this phase of Case's career (or his career in general), Who's Gonna Go Your Crooked Mile? is an excellent introduction, and more than a few longtime fans will find this well-chosen compilation an engaging and occasionally surprising listen.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming