Walk Between the Raindrops, Sugar Hill CD SHCD-1060, 1998
Advice from a Texas singer-songwriter
This album of ten songs opens up with the title track,
which couldve come off that huge-selling Dire Straits album. Was
it called, "Walk of Life"? Anyway, this song reminds me of
"So Far Away From Me." Is that the title of that song? Oh
boy, I better start writing things down. Anyway, it features this Zen
advice to a son dropping out (of something): "walk between the
raindrops, dry as a bone."
If you like crossover. If you like country thats a lotta
bit pop. If you like your rock/pop thats a lotta bit country.
Youre going to stain yourself with this 46 minute epic. The
production is first class. The vocals that James kicks out with have
that Neil Young edge to them, but this guy can sing.
The interesting thing about this album is that it doesnt
stay put in any one genre. Hard to label. I like variety. "Soda
and Salt" comes somewhere in between blues and a hip-hugging line
dance. "Fast as I Can" couldve been written by one of
Dylans bastard sons.
"Every Little Bit Counts" reminds me of the best songs
of the Monkees, with lots of ear-pleasing vocals. No, that doesnt
mean its dated. That means its tuneful, it has subdued
kick, and its crafted in Franklin Mint quality.
I have a feeling "Tired of Walking" sums up the
personal feelings of McMurtry. Yes, Im probably completely wrong.
But when I hear a semi-blues singer pumping out "Im tired of
walking / I want to ride" it makes me think. And it makes me think
of myself. Im tired of walking in this world too.
But just when you think the man is too _______, here comes
"Airline Agent" which gives you a boogie lift with a few
laughs, including a chorus of "I gotta go / you gotta get me to
the show / quit looking at my hair / just get me in the air" Okay,
I dont know whats with this guys hair, but it sounds
Remember that song in the 80s "If You Leave"?
Imagine a countrified version of that, and youll get
"Comfortable." This is one of the few songs not wholly
written by James. There are five names sharing the credit here, and it
creates a very unified sound, with the country guitars sliding all
around the acoustic rhythms.
If ol Hank ever decides to give up his "are you ready
for some football?" commercials, I vote James here replaces him.
Hes got the attitude, the talent, hes got the cool
hat. Ben Ohmart
Glenn Brooks says... McMurtry reminds me of a Texas Lou Reed. He
is the son of Larry McMurtry, author of "The Last Picture
Show" and "Lonesome Dove," so he comes by both his
writing and his Texas style naturally.
James McMurtry, vocals, non-slide-type guitars; Ronnie Johnson,
harmonies, bass; Lisa Mednick, keyboards; Chris Searles, drums.
Walk Between the Raindrops Every Little Bit
Counts Soda and Salt Fast As I Can
Tired of Walking Airline Agent Racing to the
Red Light Comfortable I Only Want to Talk to
You Rexs Blues
of related interest
Too Long in the Wasteland, Columbia CD CK
McMurtrys debut album, and still one of his best.
It Had to Happen, Sugar Hill CD SHCD-1058,
Another recent gem, if not quite as glowing
Step Inside This House, MCA CDx2
Lyles new twofer is a tribute to Texas singer-songwriters.
McMurtry didnt make the cut, but there is compensation in great
tunes by Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Walter Hyatt, Michael Martin
Murphey, Robert Earl Keen and others less well known but no less