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Junior Brown
DOWN HOME CHROME
(Telarc)

Junior Brown has cornered the market on double-neck-combo-six-string-and-steel-guitar virtuosos in his ability to re-create the sound of í40s and í50s Texas swing with shades of blues and rock. Actually, Brown is the entire market. And heís opened it a little wider this time with a jazzy jump blues called "Hill Country Hot Rod Man" that takes Stevie Ray Vaughanís tones and daredevil bends for a spin and gets a boost from a three-piece horn section even as his baritone echoes the declarative phrasing of one of his mentors, the late Ernest Tubb. Itís this kind of winning amalgamation that allows Brown to transcend idiomatic limitations. His sense of humor also helps ó most of the time. "Two Rons Donít Make a Right" updates the C&W pun-song tradition, but "Little Rivi-Airhead," about a hot-rod-driving sweetheart, just seems dumb and sexist. Hendrix gets his due with a close-to-text "Foxy Lady," and Brown mimics pedal steel on a cover of the George Jones hit "The Bridge Washed Out." It all concludes with 10 minutes of "Monkey Wrench Blues," a slow-squeezed stroll over three chords that blends rambling lyrics and notes into an ear-pleasing combination that sounds straight out of a Lone Star State roadhouse.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI


Issue Date: August 27 - September 2, 2004
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