A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Guntram Gudowius
Double Feature contains two previously recorded albums - Swingtime Cowgirl (1988) and Tune Ranglin (1989) which combine for a total of 75 minutes of good-time cowboy music performed, primarily, by Liz Masterson & Sean Blackburn, with the help of a wide assortment of other musicians. A few exceptions to the good-time tunes, though, are a couple of sentimental waltzes and the absolute tear-jerker Empty Cot In The Bunkhouse (which comes complete with a whining dobro and fiddle). A piece of advice- have a hanky ready.
The songs on this CD sparkle with clear solo and harmony voices as well as some great yodeling. The featured instruments area mostly acoustic guitars, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, and string bass but they often have the support of steel and electric guitars as well as some percussion. The interplay of the instruments is always clean and precice, yet is delivered with obvious joy. Two thirds of the songs were written in the 1930's and 40's and the others fit into the "traditional" genre, descibing experiences in the lives and loves of cow-boys and cow-girls and scenes of a Western country (right down to the moonshine). Don't look for deep psycological portraits in a singer/songwriter fashion; this is upbeat music with happy melodies. You'll love listening while cleaning the house or driving (watch out- don't exceed that speed limit!).
Basically, if you need a musical pick-me-up, this CD is for you. I was only familiar with a few songs and thought I could do without yet another rendition of Tumbling Tumbleweeds but after a few times through the disc, I was humming happily along (I only try the yodeling parts when I'm alone in the shower, of course).
There are two quotes on the cover of this CD that I can wholeheartedly endorse: "Highly recommended to all fans of Western music" (Mike Gross, WSHU FM) and "Cowboy Music at its best... do yourself a favor to buy this one" (Darrell Arnold, Cowboy Magazine). Happy Trails not included.
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Edited by Kerry Bernard