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Joe Ely adds another show to the streak

Lilli's, Somerville, Mass., Oct. 27, 2000

By Jeffrey B. Remz

SOMERVILLE, MA - Rounder Records has been rolling some heavyweights through town as part of its Thirtieth Anniversary celebration, and Friday night it was Joe Ely's turn.

As usual, he tore the place down. As are we all, Ely is getting older, and superficially he's slowed down some from the killer physical pace he used to set on stage, yet his shows, and what he puts into them, remain as intense as ever.

On this night, he quickly set the tone with a smoking run-though of "All Just To Get To You," and didn't bother to slow things down until he came back for the encore. In between, he ripped through material cutting across his recorded output, from early (a high-test "Dallas," "Musta Notta Gotta Lotta") to mid ("Me and Billy the Kid," "My Eyes Got Lucky," on which the crowd deliriously sang along) to late ("The Road Goes On Forever," "You're Working For the Man," "St. Valentine").

On all, he was accompanied by the slashing guitar work of longtime compadre Jesse Taylor, and by the squeezebox proficiency of Los Super Seven's Joel Guzman; the two displayed some particularly ferocious interplay on "Fingernails."

Thirteen songs in, Ely and company left the stage; singer and accordionist returned alone to offer up a beautifully-hushed trio of Butch Hancock songs "If You Were A Bluebird," "West Texas Waltz" and "Wishin' for You." Then it was full-tilt through a reeling, rocking version of Lubbock patriarch Buddy Holly's "Oh, Boy!" to bring things to a sweat-soaked finish.

One of the most common claims made about Joe Ely is that he never puts on a bad show; you can add this one to the streak.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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