For young women singing early-Sixties-style country, St. Patsy casts a mighty shadow. On her debut album, Introducing Miss Lauren Marie (Texas Jamboree), Miss Lauren Marie conjures the era with satiny vocals that also bear a touch of the great Kay Starr. The right-on-the-beat musicianship comes in equal doses from her band, the Two-Timin' Three, and Austin's woefully underrated Horton Brothers. The gawd-awful but brave cover of Tina Mack's Satan and the Goddess does a disservice to Mack's stylish voice and whimsical songwriting ("Do the Boys Love Us?"). Satan is quite the CD, part musical, part concept, part literature lesson, and all good humor, plus excellent players like David Murray, Roscoe Beck, and Chris Gage, as she sends up love and sex with pagan undertones. If Fur Dixon's name sounds familiar, she was a tough cookie on the Eighties L.A. scene with the Cramps, Screamin' Sirens, Whirlybirds, and oh, lots of others before relocating to Austin then heading back to the coast. She's teamed with Steve Werner (Ray Campi, Glen Glenn) for The Pearl and the Swine, a rich, lively blend of hillbilly harmonies, mountain melodies, and big-city smarts. Smarts is something Ginger Leigh has always demonstrated and her release from earlier this year, Sugar in My Coffee, is another jolt of java-laced groove and sweetly composed tunes. That's not to suggest they're lightweight or otherwise insubstantial, but rather that Leigh strikes a delicate balance between style, substance, and unrestrained rock & roll, especially on songs such as "Close Enough," "Angel," and "Mexican Man." Girlie alert: Wendy Colonna's wonderful Right Where I Belong came out last year but was officially re-released this summer. She remains one of the best-kept secrets in Austin.
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