The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Christopher Gray, December 3, 1999, Music

Texacala Jones & Her T.J. Hookers


Honey Records is a bit of an ironic label for Texacala Jones, because the Hole in the Wall diva specializes in songs that make sandpaper sound like silk -- check the sinewy versions of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" and Quincy Jones' "In the Heat of the Night" for further proof. But if it's jagged barroom blues you're after, few do it better than Tex and her Hookers. Ex-Hickoid Jeff Smith's switchblade guitarwork cuts deep and fast, and Walter Daniels' low-down sax and harmonica is shadowier than sunset in a back Chicago alley. In an age dominated by rote arrangements and soulless studio technology, the Hookers come through with all the rough edges intact -- it's more refreshing than Tylenol on a Sunday morning. The Hookers' ragged glory still must be experienced live to be fully appreciated, but this album nevertheless ends with the distinct impression that a long, cold shower is in order. And that's a good feeling.


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