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Dale Watson & the Texas Two

The Sun Sessions (Red House)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 28, 2011

Texas Platters

Dale Watson & the Texas Two

The Sun Sessions (Red House)

As Dale Watson tells it, he wasn't planning on making this album. On the way to what he thought was a scheduled gig in Memphis, Tenn., he was informed he wasn't booked. So the defiant local dialed up Sun Studio which, as luck would have it, was open and unoccupied. The resulting 14 songs pay tribute to a sound that hasn't been new in 60 years, one originated by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. In Watson's country baritone, however, it's more alive than ever. The majority of the tracks lean toward Cash, from the reverb on Watson's tremulous vocal boom to his band, just Chris Crepps on standup bass and Mike Bernal on drums, a direct reflection of the original Tennessee Two. Like the rockabilly and hillbilly originals Watson sets out to imitate, six of The Sun Sessions' tracks clock in under two minutes, while ode to a shoe shiner "Big Daddy" and trucker's lament "Drive Drive Drive" pack a familiar Watson wallop.

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