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The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt

The Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt – 1999 (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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The wonderful 60's-style liner notes to this duets E.P. tells us country and western fans need no introduction to the Two Dollar Pistols. However, unfortunately, many country fans are still unaware of these honky-tonk masters from Chapel Hill, N.C. led by John Howie. And still more don't know about Tift Merritt, lead singer of Raleigh's The Carbines.

Hopefully, these seven songs two originals and five covers - should lead to more recognition for these very talented folks. The Pistols, minus recently departed lead guitarist Steve Howell, are as tight and on the money as always. Howie - deep-voiced and capable of making every syllable say COUNTRY - and Merritt, whose tenderly mighty voice could make you do anything but turn away, sing with the passion and excitement of a fiery new relationship, one that you hope lasts. The covers include Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton's "Just Someone I Used to Know," Charley Pride's "I'm So Afraid of Losing You Again," and "One Paper Kid," originally performed by Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris. Two Howie/Merritt originals fit in perfectly alongside the classics.

With this E.P. clocking in at just more than 25 minutes, you will likely be left wanting more. So, go ahead, just hit repeat the button.