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Jim Stringer and the Austin Music Band

On the Radio – 2001 (The Music Room)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by Jim Stringer and the Austin Music Band

For this sophomore release, Jim Stringer's Austin Music Band has become the AM Band - not a radical change, although perhaps a bit more evocative of the radio band that once played as broad a range of music as he and his cohorts do. And in spite of the joke from which Stringer copped the original name of the band -"There's only one band in Austin, and everyone plays in it"- the personnel have remained the same for this record, too.

There hasn't been a remarkable change in the AM Band's music, either; Stringer et. al. move effortlessly from old time rock-and-roll to barroom country to a touch of doo wop and a little bit of Elvis, and as usual for Stringer, throw in a couple of fine western swing instrumentals to boot.

The country stuff stands out this time around, particularly the cover of Ray Charles' "Leave My Woman Alone" (in promo material, Stringer notes his preference for the Everly Brothers' version, and it shows in the countrified Everlys sound that the band brings to the cover), and the back-to-back contrast of "I Feel Better," which starts as a tear-in-your-beer lament, and morphs into an anthemic ode to male liberation, and the unalloyed weeper "Long Time Coming." In short, more of the same good music from Stringer and company.