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Mighty Long Time (Deluxe Edition)

James Cotton

Blues - Released October 30, 2015 | Texas Music Group

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Mighty Long Time (Deluxe Edition)

James Cotton

Blues - Released January 1, 1991 | Texas Music Group

Although the titles are all familiar (most of them a little too much so), Cotton and his all-star cohorts (guitarists Jimmie Vaughan, Matt Murphy, Luther Tucker, Hubert Sumlin, and Wayne Bennett, with the omnipresent Perkins on keys) pull the whole thing off beautifully. Cotton's cover of Wolf's "Moanin' at Midnight" is remarkably eerie in its own right, and he romps through Muddy Waters' "Blow Wind Blow" and "Sugar Sweet" with joyous alacrity. © Bill Dahl /TiVo
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Pinetop's Boogie Woogie

Pinetop Perkins

Blues - Released January 1, 1992 | Texas Music Group

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The maze of new and recent discs by this veteran Chicago piano man can be daunting, but rest assured that this is one of his best to date. Many of the songs are Perkins standbys -- "Kidney Stew," "Caldonia," and of course, "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" -- but the backing here is so stellar (sidemen include harpists James Cotton and Kim Wilson, guitarists Matt Murphy, Jimmy Rogers, Hubert Sumlin, and Duke Robillard, and several driving rhythm sections) -- that the project rises above most of Perkins's output. © Bill Dahl /TiVo
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Live at Antone's Nightclub

James Cotton

Blues - Released January 1, 1988 | Texas Music Group

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Reuniting Cotton with his former guitarists Matt Murphy and Luther Tucker, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and Muddy Waters' ex-rhythm section (bassist Calvin Jones and drummer Willie Smith) looks like a great idea on paper, and it worked equally well in the flesh, when this set was cut live at Antone's Night Club in Austin, TX. © Bill Dahl /TiVo
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Live at Antone's, Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition)

Pinetop Perkins

Blues - Released August 22, 2000 | Texas Music Group

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Pinetop Perkins spent the bulk of his career playing in bands, and this 1995 live set, recorded at the 20th anniversary of Antone's in Austin, TX, the month he turned 82, is very much a band album. Perkins sings in a creaky, breathy voice and plays piano in his trademark barrelhouse style, but his accompaniment, consisting of regular bassist Calvin Jones and drummer Willie Smith, plus guests Kim Wilson on harmonica, Rusty Zinn on guitar, and Mark Kazanoff on tenor sax, makes the show a group effort in which the nominal sidemen get extensive solo time. Wilson especially makes his presence felt with long improvisations, though Kazanoff and Zinn are also heard from frequently. Perkins gets his share of playing time, too, particularly on the slow blues "I Almost Lost My Mind" and Jimmy Smith's "Chicken Shack," but anyone looking for a Perkins piano album should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want to hear a hot, Chicago-style blues band playing Muddy Waters favorites like "Got My Mojo Working" and "Hoochie Coochie Man," songs Perkins had occasion to familiarize himself with as a member of Waters' band, this excellent live album will fill the bill. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Live at Antone's, Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition)

Pinetop Perkins

Blues - Released August 22, 2000 | Texas Music Group

Pinetop Perkins spent the bulk of his career playing in bands, and this 1995 live set, recorded at the 20th anniversary of Antone's in Austin, TX, the month he turned 82, is very much a band album. Perkins sings in a creaky, breathy voice and plays piano in his trademark barrelhouse style, but his accompaniment, consisting of regular bassist Calvin Jones and drummer Willie Smith, plus guests Kim Wilson on harmonica, Rusty Zinn on guitar, and Mark Kazanoff on tenor sax, makes the show a group effort in which the nominal sidemen get extensive solo time. Wilson especially makes his presence felt with long improvisations, though Kazanoff and Zinn are also heard from frequently. Perkins gets his share of playing time, too, particularly on the slow blues "I Almost Lost My Mind" and Jimmy Smith's "Chicken Shack," but anyone looking for a Perkins piano album should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you want to hear a hot, Chicago-style blues band playing Muddy Waters favorites like "Got My Mojo Working" and "Hoochie Coochie Man," songs Perkins had occasion to familiarize himself with as a member of Waters' band, this excellent live album will fill the bill. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Live at Antone's Nightclub

James Cotton

Blues - Released January 1, 1988 | Texas Music Group

Reuniting Cotton with his former guitarists Matt Murphy and Luther Tucker, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and Muddy Waters' ex-rhythm section (bassist Calvin Jones and drummer Willie Smith) looks like a great idea on paper, and it worked equally well in the flesh, when this set was cut live at Antone's Night Club in Austin, TX. © Bill Dahl /TiVo
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Mighty Long Time

James Cotton

Blues - Released January 1, 1991 | Texas Music Group

Although the titles are all familiar (most of them a little too much so), Cotton and his all-star cohorts (guitarists Jimmie Vaughan, Matt Murphy, Luther Tucker, Hubert Sumlin, and Wayne Bennett, with the omnipresent Perkins on keys) pull the whole thing off beautifully. Cotton's cover of Wolf's "Moanin' at Midnight" is remarkably eerie in its own right, and he romps through Muddy Waters' "Blow Wind Blow" and "Sugar Sweet" with joyous alacrity. © Bill Dahl /TiVo
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Price Is Right

Toni Price

Blues - Released April 7, 2008 | Texas Music Group

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Into the Mystic

Lavelle White

Blues - Released August 26, 2003 | Texas Music Group

"[T]here's no denying the power of Lavelle White's singing....She proves again that she's among the most soulful female singers on the scene." © TiVo
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Juke Box Music / The Last Real Texas Blues Band

Doug Sahm

Blues - Released April 22, 2003 | Texas Music Group

In 2003, Texas Music Group released Juke Box Music/Last Real Texas Blues Band, which contained two complete albums -- Juke Box Music (1989, originally released on Antone's) and The Last Real Texas Blues Band (1994, originally released on Antone's) -- by Doug Sahm on one compact disc. © John Bush /TiVo
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The Scene of the Crying

Justin Trevino

Country - Released November 12, 2002 | Texas Music Group

Few contemporary artists have a feel for heart-piercing classic country like Justin Trevino; his ability to understand and appreciate a good shuffle or two-step is akin to a wine connoisseur's understanding of his chosen delicacy. Trevino stays the course of previous efforts on The Scene of the Crying, offering a few originals but primarily focusing on covers of classics and more obscure tracks by other artists. As usual, Trevino includes a song by his namesake and friend (until his death), Justin Tubb, with "You'll Never Get a Better Chance." He also duets with idols Jimmy C. Newman and rockabilly star Wanda Jackson on the album. (The latter on a version of her "What Have We Done.") He enlists a fine crop of musicians for support here, including the well-heeled Bobby Flores (fiddle) and Dickie Overby (pedal steel). Some well-known highlights include takes on Mel Tillis' "Old Faithful" and Connie Smith's "Then and Only Then" (written by Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson). As usual, though, what truly startles the listener is Trevino's pipes: He's a silky sweet country warbler in the tradition of such golden-throated predecessors as Marty Robbins, Ray Price, and Johnny Bush. © Erik Hage /TiVo
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Live at the Caravan of Dreams

Monte Montgomery

Rock - Released November 12, 2002 | Texas Music Group

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Stoned Again

Barry Goldberg

Blues - Released September 17, 2002 | Texas Music Group

A truly brilliant and original concept for a tribute album, Stoned Again can be classified as many things: a Barry Goldberg solo record (his first in 20 years), a Rolling Stones tribute, as well as a sort of modern-day Super Session album. Goldberg, a veteran keyboardist and songwriter who was one of the founding members of the Electric Flag, has also played on hundreds of sessions for artists ranging from Bob Dylan to the Flying Burrito Brothers. Aside from showing off his imposing keyboard skills, Stoned Again is a vital example of his ability as a tasteful and inventive arranger. A good illustration of this is the smoky barroom funk of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which renders the actual tune almost unrecognizable, but nevertheless completely enthralling. Ditto for "Heart of Stone," which receives an extraordinarily jazzy, Booker T. & the MG's-soaked overhaul. Aside from Goldberg and his superb band -- which includes veterans Greg Sutton, Don Heffington, and Denny Freeman -- there are several astounding guest performances. Ex-Rolling Stones lead guitarist Mick Taylor shines on two songs, most notably a slithering version of "Ventilator Blues." This track also features another Stones sideman, Ernie Watts, who also appears on several other cuts delivering his usual tasty sax runs. Producer Carla Olson also steps out of the booth, performing guitar on a few cuts, including an exceptionally soulful reading of "As Tears Go By." But in the end, Stoned Again -- despite all of the guest appearances and the Stones-based material -- is really a resplendent example of Barry Goldberg's incredible, underrated musicianship, and for that reason alone is well worth a listen. © Matthew Greenwald /TiVo
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The Lowdown

Roger Wallace

Country - Released June 4, 2002 | Texas Music Group

Listening to the opening notes of Roger Wallace's The Lowdown creates something of a time warp. The music sounds like country formed in the tradition of George Jones and Merle Haggard, and one could easily imagine the title track fitting between "Bartender's Blues" and "The Fightin' Side of Me." But the album's credits, along with the clean, bright production, assures the listener that The Lowdown was cut in an up-to-date studio in 2002. On his third album, Wallace and his fellow travelers take a trip back to the 1950s and 1960s to explore a number of country styles. While the lonesome steel guitar of "What Did I Do (The Teardrop Song)" reminds one of a sad Hank Williams tune, "You're a Heavenly Thing" washes the blues away with a bit of Western swing. This eclectic approach keeps The Lowdown from sounding like another retro one-note band trying to fit in with the current alternative country scene. Wallace is a versatile vocalist, offering a resonant baritone on the title cut and smoothing things out a bit for the swinging "Me and Abalina Jane." Wallace's band also sounds great, with guitarist Jim Stringer and steel player Marty Muse spicing up the proceedings. A number of guests also weigh in, with Toni Price joining Wallace on "Blow Wind Blow" and guitarist Dave Biller cutting loose on "Stranger Pickin'." Roger Wallace may don the trademark hat of the Nashville cowboy, but don't be deceived: The Lowdown has much more to offer than the average album from the average hat act. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Gravity (Deluxe Edition)

Alejandro Escovedo

Rock - Released January 1, 1992 | Texas Music Group

While Alejandro Escovedo had shown plenty of versatility over the first 15 years of his career in music -- playing with early punk ravers the Nuns, prescient alt-country upstarts Rank and File, and roots rock firebrands the True Believers, among many others -- it wasn't until the Believers took shape that he began to display his formidable gifts as a songwriter, and with his first solo album, Gravity, Escovedo belatedly made it clear that he possessed one of the strongest and most distinctive lyrical voices of his generation. Opening with "Paradise," a haunting first-person narrative of a man about to be hanged, Gravity is a strikingly accomplished set of songs that deal with love ("Broken Bottle," "Five Hearts Breaking"), death ("She Doesn't Live Here Anymore"), and loss ("The Last to Know," the title song) in deeply personal terms, and Escovedo tells his stories with a talent for finely woven detail that would be the envy of a first-rate novelist. And the diversity of Escovedo's years of musical experience shows in the album's arrangements, which range from quiet, contemplative pieces structured around cello and piano ("Broken Bottle," "She Doesn't Live Here Anymore") to full-on, amped-up barrelhouse rock & roll ("Oxford," "One More Time"); Turner Stephen Bruton's clean, unobtrusive production gets all the details on tape with admirable clarity. Not every songwriter has the luxury of spending a decade and a half on the sidelines honing his craft before making a solo bow, but even with that advantage, there are few people who have the talent and vision to create an album as strong and moving as Gravity; to call it an "auspicious debut" is to risk understatement. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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By the Hand of the Father (Songs & Stories From the Original Theaterwork)

Alejandro Escovedo

Folk/Americana - Released May 14, 2002 | Texas Music Group

The depth and feeling of By the Hand of the Father is a bit shocking. The project began as a play that premiered in Los Angeles in 2000 and has been stripped down to a handful of songs accompanied by voice-over texts. These songs and voice-overs weave a complex tapestry that explores the Mexican-American experience in the 20th century. Individuals leave their homeland, search for the American Dream, and attempt to hold on to their heritage. Alejandro Escovedo, who has written most of the lyrics and sings most of the vocals, stands at the center of this multi-faceted venture. "Rosalie" tells the tale of two lovers separated by "An ocean of powder and dust," who finally marry after a seven-year courtship punctuated by only seven visits. At the beginning of "Mexico Americano," the narrator recalls how his father always felt more Mexican than American until he joined the U.S. Army to defend a country "that was barely even his." These songs move forward in time, from the early 1900s to World War II to the Vietnam War. Heavy drums and a galloping guitar punctuate "Hard Road," a series of vignettes about the working lives of Mexican-Americans. Like other Americans, they hope their sons and daughters will be able to do better than them. By the Hand of the Father is a contemplative work of rare depth. By attempting to find meaning in the lives and stories of those who have come before them, Escovedo and friends have crafted a penetrating work of art that's also a joy to listen to. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Semaphore

Lisa Mednick

Rock - Released March 12, 2002 | Texas Music Group

Perhaps the first thing to catch one's attention on Lisa Mednick's second release is the curious title, Semaphore. The picture of the railroad crossing on the cover, however, provides a clue: a semaphore is "any apparatus for signaling." The elliptical lyrics of the title track identify a universal female figure as a signaler, mystically offering directions that spring from divine sources. "Widow of this World" likewise uses the image of a woman to explore the values of being married in both the literal and figurative sense to a man, a city, and a country. If all of this sounds a bit "heavy," fear not. While Mednick writes careful lyrics with strange words like "anchorite," she doesn't consider herself one of those navel-gazing singer/songwriters. Instead, songwriting is just another aspect of building a musical tapestry. Atmospheric guitars mingle with dreamy keyboards on "Falling off a Wheel" and "No More Rain," while bass and percussion offer a balanced underpinning. The mix also varies frequently, keeping these tunes from falling into a tired groove. Accordion adds pizzazz to the Cajun-drenched "Sad Louisiana Waltz," while the cello/piano combo gives "Dancing in My Cell" a classical air. While Mednick's stylized soprano reminds one more of a pop singer like Natalie Merchant than her Austin-based peers, it is just right for delivering sonically charged pieces like "Wrecker" and "Stranger." Musically and lyrically, Semaphore offers a rich mix of carefully layered Americana. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Green Snakes

Johnny Bush

Country - Released November 13, 2001 | Texas Music Group

Johnny Bush has been around Texas forever -- or maybe it just seems that way. Certainly, the man with the massive tenor has been a legend since he started up as a frontman in the '60s, and the renewed popularity of his 1972 song, "Green Snakes," about a man with the DTs has brought him back into the spotlight and pulled a new disc from him. He's re-recorded that classic and offers material both old -- like "Driving Nails (In My Coffin)," which was a hit for Floyd Tillman -- and much newer, like the very funny "Dos Tacos." Bush sticks to the straightforward Texas honky tonk style that's been his trademark throughout his career, even on the gospel tune "Glory Train" (which is followed, ironically, by the adultery ballad "Cheatin' Fire," a wonderful duet with Leona Williams). Particularly interesting are his spoken reminiscences of the late, great Moon Mullican, coming right between Bush's versions two songs associated with Mullican: "You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry," given a rocked-out Western swing treatment, and "The Pipeliner Blues," performed in neo- rockabilly fashion to round out the disc. But that's far from being all -- a bonus EP contains nine songs demoed in 1965 by Bush (who was already 30 then), with friends Willie Nelson and steel guitarist Tommy Morrell. The sound quality's far from great -- calling it muddy is kind -- but the songs themselves are wonderful, especially "Between Heartbreak and Dawn." It's country music for a time before country was big, raw, heartfelt, and vibrant -- like Bush himself. © Chris Nickson /TiVo
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Dare to Dream: The Best of Don Walser

Don Walser

Country - Released October 30, 2001 | Texas Music Group

Don Walser is Texas, it's really as simple as that. He epitomizes the state's music even more than the legendary Willie Nelson. For years he toiled the honky tonks and bars while holding down a day job, and didn't record his first album until 20 years after his first single in 1964. But since he began recording, he's unleashed a series of classic Texas country tunes, starting with his signature piece, "Rolling Stone From Texas," represented, as it should be, in two versions: one the polished album edition, the other a rawer live version from 1964, the year it appeared as a single. What they bookend is nothing less than a series of marvels, like "The John Deere Tractor Song," a wonderful ode to farmers; a glorious version of "Whispering Pines" that shimmers, with Walser's soft yodel bumping it along; his own "Hot Rod Mercury," car nostalgia in four honky tonk minutes; and a very strange version of "Rose Marie," performed with the Kronos Quartet. There are tracks collected from soundtracks, compilation albums, and a couple of unreleased pieces, and they're all sung with the same easy grace that's Walser's trademark. He has a big voice (he's been called the Pavarotti of the plains), and while relaxed, there's sometimes a formality about it that harks back to the '30s and '40s, which suits songs like Felice Bryant's "We Could You and I," as well as his own wonderful material, which has brought him deserved success. Walser deserves a greatest-hits set, and this collection serves him very well indeed. © Chris Nickson /TiVo