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Bellamy Brothers

Lonely Planet – 1999 (Blue Hat/Bellamy Brothers)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Bellamy Brothers

The Bellamy Brothers have had 26 Top Ten Country Hits (and one pop smash). The hits stopped coming years ago - because the marketplace changed, not The Bellamys. No act has relied more heavily on puns and wordplay than these guys, and that can work both ways. "Lonely Planet" has the "The Ex-Files," not only a great pun, but a sublime dose of Bakersfield country featuring guest Buck Owens. On the other end of the spectrum is "Shero," as in "Mama was my shero." If this line does not make you wince, you may actually enjoy the song.

Most tunes are on the plus side, including "Old Country (New Country)," a clever take on the ongoing debate, "Houston (We Have A Problem)" and "Highway Of Regret." There are two versions of "Vertical Expressions (of Horizontal Desire)". The one with Freddy Fender guesting is preferable, because he sings in Spanish, and this is another song that improves when the lyrics are unintelligible.

Heavy on nostalgia, wordplay, love songs, and catchy melodies, The Bellamy Brothers might be considered the poor man's Statler Brothers. That's not the worst thing to be, especially with the real Statlers on the sidelines.