Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Junior Brown Long Walk Back

Once I stumbled across Junior Brown - through Facebook friends, as I recall - I was hooked on his traditional country sound and his incredible guitar playing. I picked up this CD after diggin' the title track on one the Junior comps I have gathered.

The afore-mentioned title number, "Long Walk Back To San Antone", is a cool bit of country/blues/swing with a great groove and some amazing git work, of course. Even more wild git-steel playing in the upbeat C&W "The Better Half", but the maudlin ballad "Read "em and Weep" doesn't really stand out. He rectifies that with the kitschy but rockin' "Rock-a-Hula Baby" where he combines the silly subject matter with insanely good playin' - and even gives a goofy Elvis-like ending. Speaking of Elvis, "Lookin' For Love" sounds like it could have been one of his later, movie soundtrack songs, with a Fifties influence but a bit more polish that necessary - dig the sax'n'guitar though! I love his instrumental work and "Peelin' Taters", despite the frivolous title, delivers the goods and the fingers fly through "Freedom Machine" at an incredible pace - he truly is one of the most creative and innovative players I've heard in any genre. The steel-guitar driven ballad "Just a Little Love" works much better than "Read "em and Weep" - not quite as weepy and the steel performance is truly beautiful. "Keepin' Up With You" is kind of a blues rock number, but with disjointed rhythms, more kooky lyrics, but guitar work that is reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughn and even Hendrix, at times. Dig the surf-meets-country of "I'm All Fired Up" and he closes with a guitar tour-de-force that only he could deliver, "Stupid Blues". Man, I could listen to his guitar all day long and never get tired - I wish he didn't feel the need to play the goofball in so many of his songs, though I guess it has served him well over the years.

I've found that all of Junior's CDs are a bit uneven, but his instrumental work overcomes any objections I ever have and everything I've heard has more than enough greatness to balance out the foolishness.