The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, August 9, 2002, Music

Dale Watson

Live in London ... England! (Audium) The British love American country music. When you add the Texas factor in, there's quite a bit of intrigue for our cousins across the pond. All the proof you need is the audience roar that comes with Dale Watson's "Real Country Music." Live in London ... England! does a great job of putting you right in the middle of the crowd at London's Borderline Club. Watson and band play it tight and furious throughout, running from Watson faves like "Country My Ass," "I Hate These Songs," and "Nashville Rash" to Wynn Stewart's "Another Day, Another Dollar" and Merle Haggard's "Mama's Hungry Eyes" with equal aplomb. There's a fine jazzy treatment of Ray Price's "Bright Lights and Blonde-Haired Women" (with steel player Ricky Davis flat tearing it up), as well as Johnny Cash's "I Got Stripes," Watson playing the enthusiastic crowd for all they're worth throughout. The local country icon has always been an able guitarist, but has made considerable progress in the last couple of years; his fluid licks shot through the songs here are a delight. With band and singer both in top form, this is both a great introduction to Watson for the uninitiated, and a live snapshot of his true honky-tonk style. Like the tattoos on his arms, it couldn't be more quintessentially American or Texan. In other words, it's just the thing to drive a club full of Brits into a frenzy.

*** .5

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