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Jim Lauderdale

Country Super Hits! Vol 1 – 2006 (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Jim Lauderdale

Jim Lauderdale has just released not one, but two records at the same time, something he's done once before, in 2002. This time, he's helpfully titled the discs so that you know exactly what you're getting.

The country offering comes with a dedication that marks the passing of Buck Owens, and since it's as thoroughly country an album as Lauderdale has made since 2000's "The Other Sessions," it's a fitting memorial to that giant. He does throw in a couple of stylistic diversions - the bluesy swing of "That's Why We're Here" and the acoustic flavor and south-of-the-border touches of "She's Got Some Magic Going On."

But otherwise, it's all honky tonk, all the time, by turns hard-charging ("You Can't Stop Her"), vintage shuffle ("Honky Tonk Mood Again"), loping, mid-tempo wonder (the bittersweet "Change") and ballad ("I Met Jesus in a Bar," an amazing song about finding grace and redemption in "that least-expected place"). All songs are co-writes, all but two with Nashville songwriter Odie Blackmon, but no matter the partner, they all bear that unmistakable Lauderdale stamp.