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Laurel Canyon Ramblers

Back on the Street Again – 1998 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Laurel Canyon Ramblers

On the Laurel Canyon Band's third album, group founder Herb Pedersen sought a traditional bluegrass feel, and for the most part that's what he got.

The banjo-driven "Please Come Back, Sweetheart" races along at a speed that approaches breakneck, and "Happy I'll Be" and "Move On" are traditional-sounding religious songs. But the West Coast band couldn't resist throwing in a few surprises. They rework James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes" as a midtempo bluegrass number, and thanks largely to the pretty harmonies during the chorus, it works well.

But the standout song is "Hold On," which starts out with just vocals and acoustic guitar, sounding more like folk than bluegrass. The lyrics admonish parents to "remember things that you can do before your baby's gone. Let 'em know your love is there to help 'em carry on." This is an enjoyable album from a fine band.