Black Music Matters Festival

Clay Walker

Rumor Has It – 1997 (Giant)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

CDs by Clay Walker

Cute. He's cute, the songs are cute. The problem is, they're not memorable. "Rumor Has It" and "One, Two, I Love You" are both getting airplay, but they just don't have what it takes to stay with you. Can you really picture them being sung 40 years from now, the way Hank Williams's songs are? Most of this is cookie cutter country, and Walker's voice doesn't add anything to the mix - it's just one of dozens that all sound the same.

The instrumentalists aren't to blame, for they would be welcome in any band, but they don't have much to work with. One welcome cut is "I Need A Margarita" for it brings back memories of Marty Robbins and Billy Walker with its Rio Grande rhythms. If Walker would cut a dozen of those he'd have an album, but these songs just don't grab you. When you finally get to the end, you come to "Then What" with this memorable line (to a calypso beat, no less): "Where you gonna turn when you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned, and fate can't wait to kick you in the butt."

By that time you just put "I Need A Margarita" on a cassette, throw the CD in a drawer and ask, "so what?"