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Terry Anderson

What Else Can Go Right – 1996 (East Side Digital)

Reviewed by Bill Sacks

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CDs by Terry Anderson

Owing a substantial sonic debt to '70's Rolling Stones, Terry Anderson's second solo record sounds like it was fun to record.

Its guitars ring familiar with big chords amped by overdriven tubes, and the arrangement of in-the-pocket vocal harmonies recalls the style connecting the Stones to the Byrds. Anderson's songwriting is a mixed bag: his "regular" band, the Yayhoos, has him to writing with Eric Ambel and Dan Baird to good effect; the bulk of their songs herald the Southern perspective of a later-day Lynyrd Skynyrd.

On his own, Anderson drops that kind of wry humor in favor of outright silliness and plenty of self-parody. Some of it works, some of it doesn't. There's kitsch galore in these tracks, and it undercuts the visceral force of the better songs. It effects the lone cover, too: Anderson's version of "Street Fightin' Man" lacks any kind of contextwhich might echo the urgency of the original, such that you'd think the song's subject was just a reckless lout rather than a man of purpose. It would be completely out of place if not for the one tune that follows it: "Rotted On The Vine" is a romping jeremiad against taking abundance for granted. The best original on the record, it lends the collection needed weight.

In a better musical climate, it would be the single which puts Anderson on the radio.