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The Starline Rhythm Boys

Live at Charlie O's World Famous – 2008 (Cow Island)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by The Starline Rhythm Boys

Vermont veterans The Starline Rhythm Boys are a working band, so it's entirely fitting that their latest, live record was recorded in a bar they regularly gig; they've even written a song extolling the virtues and pedigree of the venerable Montpelier joint, which shows up a couple of songs in.

This is a barroom-ready set of originals mixed in with a boatload of covers that testify to the band's Saturday-night versatility while offering a whirlwind tour of the honky tonk past, from Paycheck (Heartbreak, Tennessee) to Haggard (I'm a Lonesome Fugitive), Del Reeves (A Dime at a Time) to Wynn Stewart (Playboy), the Possum (You're Still On My Mind) to the Singing Sheriff (Wine Me Up) to ol' Waylon (Lonesome, On'ry and Mean).

The Boys mix up the delivery, too, shifting with ease from a vintage rockabilly sound to hardcore honky tonk (with guest steel man Kevin Maul abetting the band's electric-acoustic-slap bass lineup) to that hillbilly sweet spot in between the two, what Wayne Hancock has labeled juke joint swing. This is the sort of live record that leaves you wishing you'd been there.