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Hot Club of Cowtown

Tall Tales – 1999 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Hot Club of Cowtown

Though there is more jazz than twang on the second release from the Hot Club of Cowtown, country fans will enjoy the western swing tunes and the quality of the music. The Austin band - Elana Fremerman on violin, Whit Smith on guitar and Billy Horton on bass - achieves an authentic '30's-'40's sound, thanks in part to producer Dave Stuckey (formerly of the Dave and Deke Combo).

Country fans will most appreciate a couple of Bob Wills covers ("I Laugh When I Think How I Cried Over You" and the instrumental "Joe Bob Rag") as well as the standard "Sally Goodin." Of the originals, the ballad "When I Lost You," co-written by Smith and Stuckey, is most impressive. Fremerman's "Darling You and I Are Through" is a nice tune, though her vocals are occasionally a bit flat, while Horton's "You Can't Take It With You" is catchy and clever.

"Tall Tales" is more influenced by jazz and Tin Pan Alley than western swingor country, but the band's musicianship and energy will appeal to music fans of all genres.