Jerry Jeff Walker Gypsy Songman (Tried & True)

Gypsy Songman (Tried & True)

Record Reviews

Jerry Jeff Walker

Gypsy Songman (Tried & True)

Jerry Jeff Walker splits people into two camps: ones who love the Texas Raconteur routine, and those who don't, and never the twain shall meet. Walker released this CD as a companion piece for his upcoming autobiography by the same name, and with sidemen like John Inmon, Freddie Krc, and Lloyd Maines, this is one of the more accomplished releases he's done in awhile, with new versions of several of his old songs mixed in with new numbers. Sometimes it works, but then there's a disorienting new version of "Mr. Bojangles" that borrows the swing beat of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" (complete with a scat-singing outro), and is guaranteed to make you check what planet you're on. His new rendition of "That Old Beat-Up Guitar," on the other hand, doesn't tamper much with the original. This disc actually works best on the more introspective, folky numbers like "Little Bird" and "My Old Man"; Walker always puts a lot of understated feeling into those kind of songs without ever lapsing into mawkishness. Certainly one thing has never changed about Jerry Jeff Walker; he's never compromised his image as a streetcorner troubadour made good, and that's certainly intact on Gypsy Songman.

***

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