Bryan Duckworth Begin the Seguin (Duckway)
Begin the Seguin (Duckway)
Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, Fri., Oct. 29, 1999
Begin the Seguin (Duckway)The "Pecan Boogie," according to the liner notes on Begin the Seguin, "is not intended for pregnant women, small children, those under a doctor's care for vertigo or puny heart, the mathematically challenged or Baptists." Right off the bat, that should tell you something about fiddler Brian Duckworth's approach. This is Western Swing the way it was back in the day, when the beer joints still had sawdust on the floors, tobacco juice on every boot, and a scuffle or two out back. Long a Robert Earl Keen sideman, Duckworth's playing is smooth without being anal retentive, his voice just uneven enough to be charming, and there's a fair amount of Bob Wills-style humor throughout ("The Big Pecan," an ode to Duckworth's hometown of Seguin, is transcendentally goofy). Duckworth roped in the great Rich Brotherton on guitar, and best friend Robert Earl Keen stops by for a guest vocals on "Way Out West." The only sore-thumb cut is a rather inexplicable cover of Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "Ain't Got a Home," complete with falsetto refrain. Go figure; it's not that great, but it does add to the off-kilter mood of this disc. Of course, Begin the Seguin is all about Duckworth and his fiddle, his style owing more to Joe Venuti and gypsy jazz than Webb Pierce or Ernest Tubb. Got a relative in, say, Iowa? Pennsylvania, maybe? Send 'em this CD to show them what Texas fiddle music is.