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David Ball

Starlite Lounge – 1996 (Warner)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by David Ball

In case you thought David Ball's debut album success was a fluke, his stellar sophomore effort should lay those fears to rest, while assuring him a place in the top tier of neo-honky tonk artists. Ball proves his mettle not only as a singer, but also as a songwriter, authoring or co-authoring 9 of 10 tracks. The album is an even mix of such up-tempo tracks as "Circle of Friends," the first single, and "What Kind of Hold," slow ballads like "I'll Never Make it Through This Fall," and shuffling mid-tempo numbers such as the excellent "I've Got My Baby on My Mind." The variety of styles gives Ball ample opportunity to strut his vocal stuff and does he ever! He seems to shift gears effortlessly from heartstring-tugging ballads to honkytonk dance hall rockers. And the music's real country, full of steel guitar and fiddle, not rehashed '70's rock dressed up in country duds. Ball's reincarnated '50's honky-tonk sound is bound to win him more fans, more award nominations and a great deal of success.