Friday, April 28, 2017

Junior Brown - 12 Shades of Brown

I'm trying to correct my dereliction of duties and fill out my Junior Brown collection, so I picked up this 1993 release at the same time I got Semi Crazy. It may take me a while, but I'll grab whatever I can find from this man!

Here he opens with his homage to one of his biggest influences in "My Baby Don't Dance To Nothing But Ernest Tubb", where his singin'n'playin' would easily fit in with Ernest's song list. There's more traditional country sounds in "Baby Let the Bad Times Be" and in the frantic-paced rockabilly of "Freeborn Man", where his playing is lightnin' fast and crazy good and Erik Hokkanen plays some stunnin' fiddle (as he does on a number of songs here). Junior gives a surprisingly serious ballad concerning the plight of the homeless in "They Don't Choose To Live That Way" but is back to more usual fare in the mid-tempo country-lick-filled "Too Many Nights in a Roadhouse". He gets a little silly in "Hillbilly Hula Gal" but I can't deny that his steel playing fits the theme of the tune!

There's a steel-driven ballad in "A Way to Survive", some excellent git playin' in the humorous "Broke Down South of Dallas", a bit of yodelin'n'fiddlin' in the traditional country of "What's Left Just Won't Go Right" and "Moan All Night Long", another Hawaiian-themed steel number with "Coconut Island" and a serious, plaintive ballad about the trials of farmers in "Don't Sell the Farm".

Once again joined by his wife, Tanya Rae, other musicians here include Donny Dolan and Tom Lewis on "snare drum", Michael Ballew on acoustic guitar and Spencer Starnes and Steve Layne on upright bass, this is another solid piece of work from the fella with the git-steel!