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Jerry Jeff Walker

Cowboy Boots & Bathin' Suits – 1998 (Tried and True Music)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Jerry Jeff Walker

This is a testament to Jerry Jeff Walker's love affair with the Caribbean island of Belize. Recorded live with his band, The Gonzo Compadres, this is comprised of either biographical songs about periodic visits there or cover versions with a tropical theme.

The lyrical messages (if any) often add up to little more than the bonding that occurs between man and hammock. Unfortunately, Walker's laid back vocals sometimes sound like they were recorded while still sleeping in that hammock. That's not to say that there aren't a few gems. "Wanted For Love" has a melodic hook that just won't quit and is anchored by a pretty harmonica line reminiscent of "Blonde On Blonde" era Dylan. Walker also finds a meaningful setting for Guy Clark's thoughtful "Boats To Build."

Otherwise, Walker spends far too much time singing about drinking and drugging. Certainly there must be more to getting away from it all than just getting stoned. Jimmy Buffett has made a career of such red-eyed observations, but we've come to expect a lot more character detail and a little more lyrical bite from Walker.