Review: Half A Million Miles by The Kennedys

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Aug 232005
 

Twangy Buddhists? You Betcha. The Doobie Brother’s classic tune, “China Grove,” set the stage with the lines “and though it’s part of the Lone Star State / the people don’t seem to care / they just keep on lookin’ to the east” and the husband and wife duo, The Kennedys, pick it up from there with bright, well-composed, well sung songs on Half A Million Miles. The 10 original tunes and 2 covers on the CD are full of sunny, happy music that verges on pop music but manages to feel grounded in Americana folk. “Half A Million Miles,” the opening, title track, establishes the duo’s pleasant harmonies while telling a ballad with an acoustic/electric guitar mix. The second track, “Nameste” makes it clear that Pete and Maura are ambassadors of Buddhism and you’re going to learn something from them while tapping your foot to their folk tunes. They are at their best though when the Buddhist teachings take a back seat to the story telling on tracks like “Midnight Ghost,” “Nuah,” and “9th Street Billy.” Bob Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom” fits in nicely with the collection adding a bit more earnestness and dramatic tension to the otherwise very light collection of songs. Give them credit for musical skills and singing talent that place them a cut and a half above typical folk duo, but way too many songs feel like Buddhist Sunday School and are more suited to preaching to the converted than entertaining average folk.

Taproot Tracks:

Track Number / Title / Notes
1 / Half A Million Miles / the most mainstream tune
10 / Chimes of Freedom / cover of the Bob Dylan tune
3 / Midnight Ghost / a song about a train. It must be country then, right?

Review: Cost of Living by Delbert McClinton

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Aug 232005
 

Delbert McClinton is a master song write/composer. By that I mean he thoroughly understands the tropes and nuances of his chosen genre, but isn’t constrained by it. A master writes songs that are unmistakably in the canon of the genre while at the same time unlike any other song you’ve ever heard. The thing that blows you away about Delbert McClinton is not just that he’s a master of a genre, he’s a master of several all at once. The sunglasses and denim of the CD cover art peg the CD as a blues or R&B CD, but with tunes like “Two Step Too” and “Down In Mexico” it’s plain to see that he’s written more than his share of honky tonk tunes in his day. (In fact he’s written country tunes for many of Nashvile’s top stars.) And “I’ll Change My Style” covers the soul-scene on this CD nicely. On Cost of Living, Delbert McClinton demonstrates a profound mastery of R&B, Blues, Soul, and Country and makes them all sound like they go together. A great example of what the Taproot is aiming for.

“One Of The Fortunate Few” (not to be confused with his 1997 CD of the same name), opens with happy go lucky tune singing the praises of a woman in which he considered himself “one of the fortunate few” to be favored by her. Wow! How many country tunes are about heartbreak and dismay and how many are about the good side? It’s such an upbeat tune you almost can’t believe it’s a honky tonk tune. “Right To Be Wrong” has an R&B groove to it with blues club changes in tempo that are unheard of among most song-writers these days. “The Part I Like Best.” is another song singing the praises of a woman but this time done in a high-energy blues style. Blues? Upbeat? Hell yeah! “I’ll Change My Style” is the old school soul song on the CD. It’s even got that standard sax/horn combo in the background. Slow and crooning. “Hammerhead Stew,” sounds like Memphis Blues, showy, high energy, but the lyrics are unmistakably blues.

Taproot Tracks:

Track Number / Title / Notes
7 / Dead Wrong / Country-rock
3 / The Part I Like Best / great lyrical delivery of a bluesy tune.
11 / Midnight Communion / honky tonk!
1 / On of the Fortunate Few / high energy song singing the praises ofa woman
4 / I’ll Change My Style / classic soul music sound
2 / Right To Be Wrong / R&B
9 / Kiss Her Once For Me / sad country song with just a hint of a latin feel to it.
6 / Your Memory, Me, and The Blues / slow, blues & soul
10 / I Had A Real Good Time / honky tonk
12 / Two Step Too / with a name like that, of course it’s a honky tonk tune
8 / Down In Mexico / desperado ballad
13 / Alright By Me / New Orleans-style blues
5 / Hamerhead Stew / memphis blues sound

Play List: August 20, 2005

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Aug 212005
 

*** = show highlight
Hour 1
Song / Artist / Title / Time
*** Secret Handshake / Truckadelic / Big In Mexico / 4:17
Whiskey / Mudcat / I’ll Be Young Once Too / 3:34
Ghost On The Highway / Trailer Bride / Down To The Promised Land, Disc 2: 5 Years Of Bloodshot Records / 2:33
Bar Exam / Derailers, The / Here Come The Derailers / 3:29
La Morena / Los Super Seven / Los Super Seven / 2:56
West Texas Highway / Lyle Lovett / Step Inside This House (Disc 1) / 3:32
I Feel Like Drinkin’ Today / Tommy Alverson / Heroes And Friends / 5:31
If I Ever Needed Love(I Sure Do Need It Now) / Ruby Johnson / Stax 1959-1968 #7 / 2:24
Oh Marianne / Peter Wolf / Sleepless / 4:19
Won’t Be Home / Old 97’s / Drag It Up / 4:48
Honey Now / Gillian Welch / Hell Among The Yearlings / 1:52
*** Seven Little Numbers / Hacienda Brothers / Hacienda Brothers / 3:02
Mad, Bad, And Dangerous / Cary Hudson / The Phoenix / 4:01
The Fox and Hounds / Lilly Brothers & Don Stover / Bluegrass at the Roots 1961 / 2:29
When The Roses Bloom Again / Wilco with Billy Bragg / Oxford American 2000 / 4:11

Hour 2
Song / Artist / Title / Time

Sleepy Eyes / Frog Holler / The High, High’s & The Low, Low’s / 3:44
Someone To Give My Love To / Al Anderson / Touch My Heart: A Tribute To Johnny Paycheck / 3:52
Guess Things Happen That Way / Johnny Cash / The Essential Johnny Cash [2002] (Disc 1) / 1:49
I’ll Drink No More Wine / Steep Canyon Rangers / Steep Canyon Rangers / 2:11
Return of the Grievous Angel [Remix] / Gram Parsons / Sacred Hearts And Fallen Angels: The Gram Parsons Anthology (Disc 2) / 3:58
How Can You Do It / John Lee Hooker / Live At Sugar Hill Vol. 2 / 3:35
Layin Around the House / Gourds / Bolsa De Agua / 2:36
*** Crooked Frame / Alejandro Escovedo / With These Hands (Expanded Edition) / 3:41
Do The Sweetback / Marchwind / Stax 1972-1975 #02 / 2:58
Missin’ You / Half Price / Choosy Beggars / Choosy Beggars / 2:25
Touch Me, Baby / John Doe / Meet John Doe / 3:29
Texas Bound Train (3:04) / Cory Morrow / The Cory Morrow Band / 3:03
*** Meet Me In The City / Blues Explosion / Sunday Nights / 4:03
Write My Ticket / Tift Merritt / Tambourine / 3:43
Drivin’ Wheel / Junior Parker / House Of Blues: Essential Blues (Disc 2) / 2:36
When You Tell Me Lies / Greg Hawks & The Tremblers / Fool’s Paradise / 4:03

 Posted by at 1:12 am

Play List: August 13, 2005

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Aug 142005
 

*** = show highlight
Hour 1
Song / Artist / Title / Time
Billy The Kid / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers / Echo / 4:08
Watch Out / Dwight Yoakam / Blame The Vain / 3:04
Runaway Life / C. C. Adcock / Lafayette Marquis / 2:55
Is That You / Arthur & Mary / Pounds Of Soul / 3:01
Drank Like A River / Whiskeytown / Whiskeytown: Faithless Street [Reissue] / 3:20
Junkfood Heaven / The Forty-Fives / High Life High Volume / 3:42
Mama Don’t / John Doe / Forever Hasn’t Happened Yet / 2:47
Take Heed / Chatham County Line / Route 23 / 3:21
No Depression / Uncle Tupelo / 89/93: An Anthology / 2:21
I Ain’t Giving Up On You / Allison Moorer / The Duel / 4:25
Rock Steady / Aretha Franklin / ARB 8: 1970-1974 / 3:13
Lover Street / Heavy Trash / Heavy Trash / 2:55
Homemaker / Dodd Ferrell and the Tinfoil Stars / The Murder of Love / 5:19
Baby’s Got A Whole Lot More / Reckless Kelly / Wicked Twisted Road / 2:45
Smell Of Blood / Two Cow Garage / The Wall Against Our Back / 2:46
Fistwhistle Boogie / Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers / Believe / 2:22

Hour 2
Song / Artist / Title / Time
I Married Her Just Because She Looks Like You / Lyle Lovett / Lyle Lovett and his Large Band / 3:14
Dance For Daddy / Webb Wilder & The Beatnecks / It Came From Nashville: The Deluxe Full-Grown Edition / 3:02
Iron Out The Rough Spots / Don Covay / Mercy/See-Saw / 2:56
Back Roads And Rainy Days / Kevn Kinney / Broken Hearts And Auto Parts / 4:28
Ta Bueno Compadre (It’s OK Friend) / The Texas Tornados / The Nada Mixes / 2:54
I’d Rather Be Blind, Crippled, And Crazy / O.V. Wright / The Soul Of O.V. Wright / 2:46
Heavy Duty / Chuck Prophet / Age Of Miracles / 4:14
Mannish Boy / Muddy Waters / His Best: 1947 To 1955 / 2:58
Transluscent Sparrow / The Sadies / Favourite Colours / 2:59
Thinking ‘Bout Jolene / Kelly Pardekooper and Otis Gibbs / Otis 49th and Melancholy / 3:41
Live Free / Son Volt / Trace / 3:14
I Was So Lonesome / Thad Cockrell / Warmth and Beauty / 2:58
Country Girl / Steve Earle / The Hard Way / 4:11
Receipts & Fevers / Gourds / Bolsa De Agua / 3:48
Sweetwater / Tres Chicas / Sweetwater / 3:59

 Posted by at 1:12 am

Play List: August 6, 2005

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Aug 072005
 

*** = show highlight
Hour 1
Song / Artist / Title / Time
Romeo’s Escape / Dave Alvin / Romeo’s Escape / 3:49
She Is My Everything / John Prine / Fair & Square / 4:25
Going Home / The Roughnecks / Down To The Promised Land, Disc 1: 5 Years Of Bloodshot Records / 3:27
Busted / Ray Charles / The Very Best Of Ray Charles / 2:11
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry / Johnny Cash / American IV – The Man Comes Ar / 3:03
True Love Travels on a Gravel Road / Nick Lowe / The Impossible Bird / 3:37
Accused Of Love / Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers / Echo / 2:45
*** the littlest birds / The Be Good Tanyas / SXSW 2005 #04 / 4:06
Yesterday’s Wine / Willie Nelson / Wanted: The Outlaws / 3:00
I Must Be Somebody Else You’ve Known / The International Submarine Band / Safe At Home / 2:18
She’s No Lady / Lyle Lovett / Pontiac / 3:15
It Was Fun While It Lasted / Billy Joe Shaver / Restless Wind: The Legendary Billy Joe Shaver 1973-1987 / 3:41
*** I Cried / Joe Medwick / Down And Out – The Sad Soul Of The Black South / 3:27
Sober Song / Slobberbone / Crow Pot Pie / 3:56
Sit In With The Band / Hayes Carll / Little Rock / 2:31
Best Of Me / Gourds / Cow Fish Fowl Or Pig / 3:24

Hour 2
Song / Artist / Title / Time

Little Bottles / Alejandro Escovedo / With These Hands (Deluxe Edition) / 3:18
Lazy Days / The Byrds / Sweetheart Of The Rodeo / 3:29
*** Don’t You Throw That Mojo On Me / Mark Selby / More Storms Comin’ / 4:06
When The People Find Out / Steve Earle / The Hard Way / 4:11
Flip, Flop / Precious Bryant / My Name Is Precious / 2:50
Swamp River Days / John Fogerty / Blue Moon Swamp / 3:36
*** Jet Pilot / Son Volt / Okemah And The Melody Of Riot / 3:12
Piece Of My Heart / Erma Franklin / 2005 Oxford American CD / 2:36
Prayer Without Words / Mary Gauthier / Mercy Now / 6:09
When Was The Last Time / Tres Chicas / Sweetwater / 4:36
Wake Up (Next To You) / Graham Parker & The Shot / Graham Parker Ultimate Collection / 5:09
Adams Hotel Road / Frog Holler / Idiots / 3:58
I Want To Love You Baby / Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson / The Complete SSS International Recordings / 2:35
Green Eyed Girl / Greg Trooper / Make It Through This World / 3:17

 Posted by at 1:11 am