Bohemia Beat Records
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
LaFave is one of an increasing number of modern rock troubadors from the southern Plains. But it is the strength of his live shows, as well as his most recent album Texoma, that make him the best. His songs are reminiscient of the Dust Bowl heritage of Woody Guthrie, the early rock of Chuck Berry, the quiet folk reflections of Bob Dylan, and the rock anthems of Bruce Springsteen. |
This 64-minute CD opens with the blues shuffle Bad Bad Girl, recalling early Robert Cray, followed by San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), which in the incarnation on this album is presented as a upbeat pop song.
The obvious radio single on this album is This Glorious Day" with soaring gospel background vocals by The Burns Sisters. Offering hope to those in need, Day is one of those perfect summer songs that sound great cranked up with the cartop rolled down. Elvis Loved His Mama is a raucus rocker, asking us to overlook Elvis' faults because of his love for his mama and "Ain't nothing wrong with that." The song even has LaFave and the Burns Sisters doing Elvis impersonations.
Buried in the middle of the album is the albums' namesake---a trilogy of songs about the influence of southern Plains music on the rest of the world. The trilogy opens with the loud rock and roller Rock and Roll Music to the World in which LaFave pays homage to his favorite Texas/Oklahoma musicians and locations: Willie Nelson, J.J. Cale, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Austin, Okemah, Oklahoma City. The second song Red Dirt Song has the chorus "Let an Okie wind just take my soul away. I got hundred dollar shoes. It's a million dollar day." Finally, Woody Guthrie is a tribute to the most famous Okie ever born, who carried the plight of the common man across the country. LaFave has drawn a lot of inspiration from Guthrie over the years and this is one of the ways Guthrie is repaid.
Texoma also has its share of quiet songs. "Never Is A Moment" and On a Bus to St. Cloud are the highlights. St. Cloud opens with a delicate keyboard version of Bill Staines' Wind River Turnaround (performed wonderfully by David Webb), followed by LaFave's aching vocals about the woman that left him behind and how he's haunted by her images. The final track is a powerful version of Jimmy Webb's The Moon's a Harsh Mistress.
On his previous record, Trail, LaFave performed nearly half Bob Dylan covers. Fans of Mr. Zimmerman will not be disappointed with LaFave's version of Emotionally Yours, from 1985's Empire Burlesque which is powerful enough to cause even the driest eye to well up.
LaFave is a legend in Texas and Oklahoma, but hopefully this album will change that and make him appreciated by a larger audience.