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Nancy Apple

High on the Hog – 1996 (Sur)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Nancy Apple

A mix of rockabilly, twang, blues rock, pop and straight-ahead country makes for one strong album for the Memphis-based Apple. The songwriting and production are top notch throughout, maintaining a lively feel.

Apple kicks it into gear with the title track, mixing themes of cars and cowboys in a bluesy, rollling number with in-your-face vocals. She continues the idea of a woman having fun on "Steppin' Out," spare sounding with the emphasis on the vocals. Apple's singing occasionally may be a bit thin and may have an affected twang , but she sings with energy and conviction. "Why You Always Cheatin' One Me" typically combines Apple's smart vocals, aided by backing vocals, a touch of accordion and a bouncy melody amidst humorous lines about trying to find out the truth.

Apple is ably backed by The Back Door Men, stretching the songs out, especially Jack Holder on guitar, while drummer Robert Hall sets the steady beat. There's enough musical diversity and chops to enable Apple to live up to the disc's title. (Available from Apple, 3992 Hawkins Mill Road, Memphis, TN 38128)