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Deryl Dodd

Live At Billy Bob's Texas – 2003 (Smith Music Group)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Deryl Dodd

There's not a lot of new material on Deryl Dodd's first live album, but it's hard to blame the singer for recycling. For one thing, the Texas native was playing to what amounted to a home town crowd; for another, many of the repeats never got much attention during his three-album stint with Columbia and its "Americana" imprint, Lucky Dog - in part because a life-threatening illness a couple of years ago derailed a career that was just getting under way.

With a stripped-down, 3-piece band, Dodd runs through a 14-song set that highlights his gritty voice and broad twang on ought-to-be-favorites like "That's How I Got To Memphis" and the heartbreak ballad, "A Bitter End." There are some throwaways, like the silly "New Tony Lamas," but they're balanced by some solid new songs like "Drinkin' 'Bout You." Unfortunately, thanks to a hidden track studio version, there's a double dose of a weak one - the almost self-pitying "Things Are Fixin' To Get Real Good" - but it's the exception. Add the lean, spirited recaps of some of his best earlier songs, and the album comes up as a qualified winner.