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Junior Brown

Semi Crazy – 1996 (Curb)

Reviewed by Dan Kuchar

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CDs by Junior Brown

To the uninitiated, Junior Brown's latest will sound like an old Ernest Tubb eight-track rescued from underneath the seat of an abandoned Peterbilt. However, among the hopelessly dated redneck-baritone vocals lie well-crafted humorous tunes and some of the hippest lap steel and guitar playing anywhere. Looking at the credits you realize that the whole enchilada is coming from one source: Junior Brown and this contraption he invented called the "guit-steel." But Brown, noted for quoting Hendrix on the guitar while singing like Tubb, is no trendy "retro" act. Brown fearlessly counts both Hendrix and Tubb among his influences. This finds Brown no longer quoting Hendrix, but one can hear excerpts from Jimmy Page on the blazing "I Hung It Up" and Brown paying homage to surf guitar legend Dick Dale with "Surf Medley." Brown's encyclopedic guitar knowledge is such that you never hear him do the same lick twice. The only bummer about this (and all) of Brown's records is that his band can't hold a candle to him.