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Marti Brom with the Cornell Hurd Band

Feudin' and Fightin' – 2000 (Goofin' USA)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Marti Brom with the Cornell Hurd Band

The latest from Austinite Mart¦ Brom is a dramatic departure from last year's excellent "Snake Ranch." A 6-song collection of material mostly dating from the '40's and '50's and backed by Austin's Cornell Hurd Band, this finds Brom stepping outside of the rockabilly style that she's tended to favor over the past several years.

The result is unlike nearly anything else heard in years, particularly froman independent label. With Brom's big voice set like a diamond in the goldband that is Hurd's renowned western swing group, the disc gives Brom the setting she's long needed to show off her ample vocal talents, with the group's sweet combination of twin fiddles and steel guitar.

Opening with the title track, a cover of Dorothy Shay's humorous 1947 account of a hillbilly feud (Shay's "Flat River Missouri" from the same period is also covered), the closest comparison here might be the wry late '40's and '50's Capitol recordings of Tennessee Ernie Ford (whose "Kiss Me Big" from 1953 is also covered here), as well as Shay's own recordings for Columbia. As with the best of Ford's records, Brom understands the value of a good sense of humor far better than most.Highly recommended, particularly to those who've been itching to hear Bromin something other than a rockabilly setting.