Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006
Reckless Kelly Was Here (Sugar Hill)
Reckless Kelly inflames cowboy boots and Texas dance halls with its fired-up versatility, and this ambitious double live album and DVD is testament to just that. Highlights include the 12-bar shotgun salute paid to Alejandro Escovedo's rave-up "Castanets," the southern twang of "Wild Western Windblown Band" (first recorded at Stubb's back in 1998), and the Tex-Mex blend of "Hey Say May" with Freddy Fender's raucous "Guacamole." The local quintet switches from Lone Star to Guinness briefly for the Celtic folklore fiddling of "Seven Nights in Eire" before Willy Braun's acoustic strumming wanders aimlessly down another "Wicked Twisted Road." Two new staples, "Wiggles & Ritalin," a pill poppin' sock hop, and the lovesick roots rock of "Break My Heart Tonight," are delivered both in concert and in the studio. The stark contrast between versions reveals Reckless Kelly's desperate need for the live atmosphere, which allows the raucous group to mask occasional lapses in genuine song craftsmanship with its audience's abundant energy. Gigs also allow the boys to ignore past blunders completely and stand on the shoulders of giants to make their own mark.