BEN STAFFORD RODGERS
Thursday, March 05
Real Country Music Along Route 99Ole Gran'pa H. M. Crittick is atcha again. We've been meaning to write this for a long spell and well, the itch needed scratching again when we pulled the CD out again. A while back, the ole boy had to take a long trip down Rte. 99 in Central California, the heart of California's farm country. Naturally Ole Gran'pa pulled a few CDs from his library to listen to on the way, some new ones submitted for review, some old favorites as well.
I started with one from Ben Stafford Rodgers called "Texas Then & Now" partly because I wanted to hear the older, familiar tunes he had on that CD. Now sometimes folks tackle those old classics and well, its a tough comparison when you think of the first time you heard them.
I could make this review very short - the truth is - I listened to the CD over and over on the 3 hour ride. He does all of them justice. The music backing him on these vocals is a nice feel to that old style of country music that many still enjoy - the fiddles, steel guitar, electric guitars. His voice is crystal clear and easy to listen to - you can follow the story in the lyrics of the tunes he sings. Try listening to the radio these days and tell me that's possible - they probably think they're in a hollow arena and having to belt it out in the studio figuring no one going to hear them anyhow.
The first tune was Marty Robbins' classic El Paso - that's what started getting my attention. Then he goes to his version of Cool Water, the tune made famous by the Sons of the Pioneers. I started clicking through to the other tunes wanting to get a quick sample to make sure I wasn't being setup for a kick back into reality if the others didn't follow that pattern. But from Back in the Saddle Again (surely you remember ole Gene?), Cattle Call (hard for me to figure which fellow did it better - Eddy or Slim, but I still enjoy those ole 78s), Shame on You, New San Antonio Rose, Bouquet of Roses and a nicely done Jim Reeves classic, Adios Amigo.
Fans of the older era of country music will be familiar with all the tunes on this CD. You may find it hard to take this one out of the CD player when your driving around. I just put it in after that quick run through and then let it start doing its random selection. I did not get tired of listening to it and found myself trying to warble along (well, since I was the only one in the car, I could get away with that). And before I knew it, my trip was over.
To Mr. Rodgers, sorry I didn't put the word out earlier. To the rest of y'all - you can't have my copy.