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David Oxford

Vaquero – 1996 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by David Oxford

The independent artist has a tough road to hoe, and here, David Oxford mines different fields of country - traditional western swing ("Lady, Do You Have the Time?"), uptempo ("Honky-Tonk Heartache"), pop ("Back in the Country") and ballads ("They're Playing Our Song"). And the Texan handles all of them ably. His baritone is full-bodied in the Joe Diffie mold, having enough quiver in his voice and sadness when required ("Don't Tell the Babies," though its get back together ending is too simple). Throughout, Oxford never surrenders to a glossy sound. Pedal steel, piano and fiddle spur many songs, not as mere appendages, but as a sign Oxford treats them as part of the musical genre. The album works best on the more traditional numbers with the swing songs standing out the most for their lively feel ("Do It Again"). This album may not be trailblazing, but Oxford certainly possesses more talent than much of what mainstream radio plays nowadays. (Vaquero, POB 683, Crystal City, TX 78839)