Thursday, October 13, 2005

"The Notorious Cherry Bombs" - The Notorious Cherry Bombs

This album is probably the best album to come out of Nashville this year. The Cherry Bombs were Rodney Crowell's backup band in the Seventies. Everyone from that band is here except for Emory Gordy Jr. on bass replaced by sessions ace Michael Rhodes. The original drummer Larry Londin passed away in 1992, replaced by sessions drummer Eddie Bayer.

There is a nice variety of songs here from country to alt/country with a little fifties rock added in. There are two of the best lead guitarists around to enjoy in Vince Gill and Richard Bennett, each with their own style. Producer and head of Universal South Records Tony Brown, who once played with Elvis is back pounding the keys again. This band is in a groove, really enjoyable to listen to them interact. Hank Devito adds some great steel. There are some horns on some of the tunes.

When you have a label head in the band, you get the best of everything; recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville and mastered by Hank Williams of Mastermix. The sound is just perfect produced by the Cherry Bombs, but I would guess that Tony Brown and Vince Gill did most of the producing.

I doubt that the original Cherry Bombs would have sounded a lot like this pristine perfect recording, they probably had a rougher, more alt/country sound if they backed up Rodney Crowell. This album spotlights both Vince and Rodney equally on vocals and the recording is plain ear candy, not the raw recording sound that you hear on a lot of alt/country. But, this reviewer loves the product, full of great songs with equal song-writing credits to Crowell and Gill.

"Dangerous Curves" written by Crowell and sung by Crowell is a mid-tempo alt/country gem with Vince playin' some great guitar, a song about messing with temptation. "Forever Someday" is a classic Vince Gill love ballad in that beautiful high tenor with a more traditional backing. Great steel and piano. What would a record with Vince on it be like without one of his great ballads.
"On The Road To Ruin"- This song has a fifties rock sound with Tony Brown playing some killer piano and some awesome lead guitar work by Richard Bennett. Crowell and Vince sing so great together. I can't say enough about the great rhythm section of Bayers and on drums and Rhodes on bass; really gives the album some great lower end sound. "Heart Of a Jealous Man" has a darker sound with Vince singing in a lower range with a mid-tempo rock sound including some banjo; brilliant. This song seethes with emotion thru and thru. "Oklahoma Dust" is a great song, Vince has that chickaboom sound going and some great lyrics with some great imagery. The record starts out cookin' with "Let it Roll, Let it Ride" with Vince and Rodney sharing lead vocals. Upbeat Rocker with horns and Richard Bennett on some great lead guitar that brings the Blues Brothers to mind. Some awesome bass runs by Rhodes.
"If I Ever Break Your Heart" sung by Gill is a strong country rocker that has some great musical hooks, great Gill lead guitar that is a little more raw and bluesy than usual. Rodney sings the bridge. Brilliant production and textures and really nice backup vocal arrangements.
This leads to this reviewer's favorite song "Making Memories of Us", a Rodney Crowell song with Rodney singing lead on a delicate, emotive song about real love. Just a beautiful melody that explodes when Vince comes in on the chorus with his high lonesome harmony.

This album is plain just a great listen, some awesome production of the best musicians and songwriters that Nashville has to offer.
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