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Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs

Pork Que – 2000 (Swine Song)

Reviewed by Tamara Bunnell

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CDs by Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs

Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs have been around a long time as a tried and true, consistent rockabilly road band, a sure bet for a good time at the local watering hole. Though the cover of this latest cd, rife with silly pork jokes as it is, might suggest just another good time drinkin' album, the disc itself is much, much more. But the band presents itself in a decidedly more serious light.

The sound of this disc rests somewhere between The Paladins and Los Lobos, with a melodic, bluesy feel chased with tones of mariachi. Bacon's voice is rich and resonant, and his songwriting is superb. All 14 songs (plus the hidden track) are Bacon originals. Most are melancholy heartbreakers, tales of loss and yearning that echo like a faraway noise on a hot, deserted summer day. The faster numbers, equally strong, are rollicking classic rock and roll.

Though the songs, words, and vocals of the band make this disc worth the purchase, what marks it a standout are the contributions of the many guest musicians. Ten additional people graced the studio with instruments ranging from pedal steel to accordion to violin, and it is their work that fleshes out the sound. Producer Jeb Schoonover had much work to do in bringing these variant sounds into harmony, and he did it perfectly.