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True Brothers

Early and Rare Vol. 1 & 2 – 1998 (True Bros.)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by True Brothers

Every once in a while we receive an album that's so downright uncategorizable that no review we write could possibly do it justice. Such is the case with the True Brothers. The unhip are just totally not going to get this album from North Carolina's the True Brothers. Without exceptional, these songs all sound like demos, with drum machines, anoccasionally bizarre sense of timing, and only the vaguest understanding of modern recording techniques.

And yet.... This is great stuff! It's totally lo-fi, but great stuff nonetheless. The True Brothers hang their hats on 50s and 60s country and far be it from us to discourage people from a traditional approach. The covers of Buck Owens "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail" and Mel Tillis' "I Ain't Never," (as well as no fewer than five Harlan Howard songs!) are ample proof of where the brothers' loyalties lie. Even better, though, are originals like the very Bakersfield-esque "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" and "Little Miss Lonesome." In spite of the rough quality of these demos, the songs are terrific. Probably not to everybody's taste, but one of the more intriguing albums we've heard this year. (True Brothers Promotions, 507 S. Chapman St., Greensboro, N.C. 27403)