David Allan Coe just might think Jeff Bates' second CD is the perfect country and western al-bum, since he’s got songs about Mama (“Mama Was a Lot Like Jesus”) and prison (“That’ll Get You Ten”) and prisoners who want to drive trucks (“One Second Chance.”) It’s true Bates doesn’t have much to say about trains or getting drunk, but maybe the fact that he’s actually been behind bars will give him enough outlaw extra credit to make up for that lapse.
It’s all academic because Coe’s crowd is not who Bates is trying to appeal to, anyway. He’s going for a more sensitive new-age kind of guy. (Or, maybe more to the point, that guy’s girlfriend.) Jeff’s songs are mostly about relationships, about keeping the passion alive (“Long, Slow Kisses”) and recovering from bad relationships (“The Woman He Walked On.”) And for such a young man, he certainly sounds as if he knows of whence he sings. (The only criticism that can rightfully be laid at his door is that his double entendres need work. “Hands On Man” never even approaches the mild-titillation level, and although one keeps waiting for something more, the Billy “Crash” Craddock cover “Rub It In” really is just about suntan lotion.)