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The Jayhawks

Hollywood Town Hall (Expanded Edition) – 2011 (Sony Legacy)

Reviewed by Greg Yost

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CDs by The Jayhawks

Not only did The Jayhawks' stellar major label debut "Hollywood Town Hall" introduce the band and its pop-driven country rock sound to a national audience, but it also shined a spotlight on the songwriting duo behind the group, Gary Louris and Mark Olson. Now, Legacy Recordings is honoring this 1992 classic with a single-disc reissue that includes 5 bonus tracks.

Even though this expanded edition doesn't contain nearly as much bonus content as its sister reissue, a 2-disc Legacy Edition version of the band's triumphant 1995 album "Tomorrow The Green Grass," the 5 bonus tracks, 2 of which have never been released before, and the digitally remastered sound make it an excellent collection.

Nearly 20 years after its original release, the songs still stand up and don't sound dated - a testament to Louris and Olson's shared vision. Harmony vocals, the single characteristic that most clearly defines The Jayhawks's sound, steal the show throughout with the laid-back Two Angels and the poppy opener Waiting For The Sun standing above the rest. Take Me With You (When You Go), with its hard-charging lead guitar work and gorgeous harmony vocals in the song's chorus, provides the clearest example of the dueling country and rock influences that shaped the band's unique sound.

The reissue's 5 bonus tracks, lead by the collection's most overtly "country" statement Keith And Quentin, strengthen an already spectacular release while extensive new liner notes from producer George Drakoulias and a clever note from friend and musical compatriot Joe Henry complete the package.