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Lost John Casner

Don't Make Me Laugh (While I'm Drinkin') – 2002 (Spectrum)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Lost John Casner

Gathering some impressive pickers Johnny Gimble, Bobby Snell, and Boomer Norman among them, Lost John Casner fashions an entertaining, authentic sounding 12-song set of unpretentious, old school country & western. Casner, long a revered staple of the Austin scene, is a fine pianist whose rolling right hand brings sawdust-on-a-hardwood-floor atmosphere to Blaze Foley's "Faded Loves and Memories" and John Prine's clever "Yes I Guess (They Ought To Name A Drink After You)." However, his somewhat foggy singing voice doesn't possess much range.

Quibbles aside, the seasoned veteran demonstrates an unerring knack for the gut-level feel of such heartsick covers as Hank Williams' "They'll Never Take Her Lover From Me," Ray Price's "One More Time" and George Jones' rowdy complaint "Why Baby Why."

Equally important are his simple, yet eloquent gifts as a songwriter. Whether telling the jazzy tale of an avaricious woman in "When The Money's Gone," documenting the poignant barroom plea of "Jubal's Song," or aping Bob Wills' jammy vehicles with "The New Texas Blues," Casner writes like a man who has lived it all and loved every minute of it. More importantly, on this worthwhile outing, he sounds the part too. (Lost John)