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Wylie and the Wild West Show

Paradise – 2001 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Wylie and the Wild West Show

Though Wylie and the Wild West are known primarily as a western band this latest release displays the band's versatility. There are some cowboy tunes here as expected. "Saddle Bum" and "Whoop Up Trail" are songs in the Bob Wills tradition that provide Wylie with yodel and "a-ha" opportunities and celebrate the cowboy lifestyle.

The ballad "To Her" is an old Badger Clark poem set by Wylie to music, and "When I'm Riding I'm Right" is Wylie's ode to the joys of horseback riding. Perhaps the most impressive vocal on the disc is the plaintive yodel on the cover of Ranger Doug's ballad "Lonely Yukon Stars." Elsewhere Wylie explores other musical influences. "Hooked on Honky Tonk" is a bluesy track inspired by Wylie's passion for Chuck Berry, and "Without You" is a traditonal country love song.

"The Gal Who Invented Kissing" is a Hank Snow cover with a Latin feel to it, while Dylan's "Girl From the North Country" is delivered in effective folk ballad form. The album closes with "Yodel Boogie," an uptempo tune with rockabilly guitar licks accompanying Wylie's frenetic yodeling. With this effort, Wylie and the Wild West prove to be not only one the top western acts around, but one of the best traditional country bands as well.