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The Okeh Wranglers

Honky Tonk Crazy – 1997 (Blue Smoke)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by The Okeh Wranglers

Here is a band, hailing from Southampton, England, with one immediately striking feature: it is composed entirely of members of the Kyme family - father Pete Sr. and mother Sheila, daughters Christine, Louise and Irene and son Pete Jr. And judging from their latest release, there isn't a runt to be found in this musical litter.

The Wranglers play vintage hillbilly music for the most part - most of it written by Pete Sr. - with turns through western swing (the fiddle instrumental "Flower of the Wasatch"), Cajun ("Kajalena"), and what might be called "country hot club," a rendition of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" dedicated to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. The band shows off an impressive versatility in its singing and playing - daughter Christine switches off on lead guitar and fiddle, while Louise's accordion adds an interesting twist to the band's honky tonking - with only an occasional lag in pace. Pete Sr. handles the vocals capably on several tracks, but the highlight may well be the vocals of Christine and Louise, providing fabulous harmonies only siblings seem capable of.

Fans of BR-549, Wayne Hancock, Big Sandy and the like owe it to themselves to go honky tonk crazy with the Okeh Wranglers. (PO Box 631, Southampton, England SO16 5ZG, +44(0) 1703 770453)