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The Flatlanders|Wheels of Fortune

Wheels of Fortune

The Flatlanders

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Nearly 30 years after the Flatlanders recorded their beautiful but ill-fated debut album, the trio of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock got together to give the fabled group another try on their second long-player, 2002's excellent Now Again. A mere two years later, the Flatlanders return with their third disc, Wheels of Fortune, but there's a difference between getting the members of a band together in the studio and having a genuine reunion, and this album suggests the downside of this phenomenon. While a dozen of the 14 songs on Now Again were collaborations between the three celebrated Texas songwriters, nearly all of the tunes on Wheels of Fortune are credited to individual members of the group, with Hancock offering the most and best new compositions, while Gilmore's three offerings have all been recorded before. The performances on Wheels of Fortune are solid throughout but sometimes a few notches short of inspired, and while Hancock truly shines on this set (especially on "Baby Do You Love Me Still?" and "Eggs of Your Chickens"), both Ely and Gilmore have frankly been in better form on recent releases (though Ely's sympathetic production earns him a few extra points). There isn't anything outwardly wrong with Wheels of Fortune, which boasts solid craftsmanship from front to back, but while Now Again sounded like a spirited collaboration between three unique but complementary talents, this album feels more like the work of three talented friends sharing some studio time -- the results are pleasing, but they fall noticeably short of what these guys are capable of.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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Wheels of Fortune

The Flatlanders

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1
Baby Do You Love Me Still?
00:02:55

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

2
Wheels of Fortune
00:03:21

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

3
Midnight Train
00:03:44

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

4
Wishin' for You
00:03:51

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

5
Eggs of Your Chickens
00:03:02

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

6
I'm Gonna Strangle You Shorty
00:03:09

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

7
Back to My Old Molehill
00:03:39

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

8
Deep Eddy Blues
00:02:54

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

9
Neon of Nashville
00:04:48

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

10
Once Followed By the Wind
00:03:49

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

11
Go to Sleep Alone
00:03:16

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

12
Indian Cowboy
00:03:48

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

13
Whistle Blues
00:03:54

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

14
See the Way
00:03:31

The Flatlanders, Composer, MainArtist - New West Records, LLC, MusicPublisher

2004 New West Records, LLC 2004 New West Records, LLC

Album Description

Nearly 30 years after the Flatlanders recorded their beautiful but ill-fated debut album, the trio of Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock got together to give the fabled group another try on their second long-player, 2002's excellent Now Again. A mere two years later, the Flatlanders return with their third disc, Wheels of Fortune, but there's a difference between getting the members of a band together in the studio and having a genuine reunion, and this album suggests the downside of this phenomenon. While a dozen of the 14 songs on Now Again were collaborations between the three celebrated Texas songwriters, nearly all of the tunes on Wheels of Fortune are credited to individual members of the group, with Hancock offering the most and best new compositions, while Gilmore's three offerings have all been recorded before. The performances on Wheels of Fortune are solid throughout but sometimes a few notches short of inspired, and while Hancock truly shines on this set (especially on "Baby Do You Love Me Still?" and "Eggs of Your Chickens"), both Ely and Gilmore have frankly been in better form on recent releases (though Ely's sympathetic production earns him a few extra points). There isn't anything outwardly wrong with Wheels of Fortune, which boasts solid craftsmanship from front to back, but while Now Again sounded like a spirited collaboration between three unique but complementary talents, this album feels more like the work of three talented friends sharing some studio time -- the results are pleasing, but they fall noticeably short of what these guys are capable of.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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