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Billy Burnette

Are You With Me Baby? – 2000 (Freefalls Entertainment)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Billy Burnette

Billy Burnette's dad Dorsey and uncle Johnny ran the legendary Rock'n'Roll Trio, whose '50's recordings still define the punkish parameters of Memphis-era rock. One of the few revivalists with bloodlines and cache to make them stick, Burnette successfully enacts a modern rockabilly makeover.

For his first solo project in several years; Burnette crafted clever, free-flowing songs with a strong roots feel. The slappin' upright bass is distinct, the drums are catchy, the lead guitar sneers out the blues, while splashes of Hammond organ and Bekka Bramlett's tasty back-up vocals sneak in a subtext of soul. Vocally, the 46-year old Burnette raves with sanctification on the exuberant "Life And Death," "Gimme You," and "Love Me Back." Appealing shades of country color "Can't Get Over You," "What A Woman Feels" and "Too Much Information," which boast a more traditional Western-bop sound.

Purists might blanch at swamp-rocker "Highway Of Love" and the Fleetwood Mac-inspired (with whom Burnette played) "The Edge Of Love." However, those seeking verification of the singer's heritage need look no further than the of Paul Burlison "Train Kept A-Rollin'" lick on the driving "Didn't Start Livin'" or his impassioned cover of the Johnny and Dorsey-penned "Believe What You Say."