Dale Watson & his Lone Stars People I've Known, Places I've Been (Continental Song City)

Texas Platters

Record Reviews

Dale Watson & his Lone Stars

People I've Known, Places I've Been

(Continental Song City)

Dale Watson can do no wrong. Having released an album a year for the past five years -- each better than the last, and culminating with 1998's outstanding The Truckin' Sessions -- Austin's country baritone makes it look like a walk to the bar: easy. People I've Known, Places I've Been is no exception. If not better than The Truckin' Sessions, then it's at least as good, in no small part precisely because Watson makes it seem so simple. Most, if not all, of the tunes here have been part of the local country singer's live repertoire for quite some time now, so they're as smooth and natural as a John Ford western -- smiling steelman Ricky Davis and big Billy "Dee" Donahue on bass backing Watson like they were Wyatt Earp's two brothers. The Continental Club's "Charlie Our Shoeshine Man" sure makes a right nice song, particularly when Watson hits those high notes, and when he skips the rec, skips the rec, skips the record on "Hey Don (Support My Favorite Beertender)," all those devoted smokers at Ginny's Little Longhorn will raise a cheer for Ginny's husband Don. The singer even pens intros to each song, as on the clickity-clacking "Rattlesnake Train": "Munich Germany, the Rattlesnake Saloon. Bruno owns the joint and it's as close to a Texas hang as you'll get anywhere in Europe." So's Ego's, but it's right here in Austin, where you can go make friends with "Johnny at the Door" and "That Man in the Lloyd Cross Hat." People I've Known, Places I've Been -- a great Texas hang. (Available only at Dale Watson shows.)

***.5

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