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Bill Engvall

Here's Your Sign Reloaded – 2003 (Warner)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Bill Engvall

Bill Engvall's great rapport with live audiences is the best feature of this mix of in-concert and studio-crafted material.

Appearing before a wildly appreciative crowd, Engvall mines his family life for some hearty chuckles. The live set perks up considerably with his remembrances of giving a sample for in-vitro fertilization ("We're going to need some more.") and crests with his recounting of his son's first physical. Naturally, his signature routine "Here's Your Sign," gets a fresh workout with an especially funny face-to-face exchange with an airline employee about lost luggage ("Has your plane landed yet?").

The studio material, borders on the disconcerting. Sure, the monologues set to music "Married For Twenty Years" and "Here's Your Sign (Wear It all The Time)," and "Here's Your Sign Christmas," are funny, but much of the material has been previously released.

The lowest point? The Neal McCoy assisted defense of President Bush "Here's Your Sign (Don't Mess With Us)." Naturally, Engvall is entitled to his opinion, but his musical linking of the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein reveals the mind-set of a pandering demagogue. A better use of his time would have been the creation of new material for this short, occasionally redundant set.