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Various Artists

The Imus Ranch Record – 2008 (New West)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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Don Imus may be a lightning rod for some of his comments, but he has long been a country music fan. This disc was the brainchild of Nashville music exec Tracy Gershon and producer Kyle Lehning with proceeds benefiting the Imus Ranch in New Mexico, a place for ill kids. The twist was that Imus got to pick the artist and song, and he did a real good job at both.

Patty Loveless starts off with a good reading of Fleetwood Mac's very tender Silver Springs, followed by Delbert McClinton's chogglin' Lay Down Sally, a perfect match for his bluesy style. Lucinda Willims slows down Mams Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, and having a female sing the song gives it a different feel. Little Richard's voice has lost none of his vigor as evidenced by his take on Webb Pierce's hit I Ain't Never. Raul Malo shows why he is one of the best singers out there today on his soulful interpretation of Charlie Rich's Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs.

About the only misstep was the overwrought You've Got to Fight for Your Right to Party courtesy of Big & Rich. The song is overblown and isn't country save for instrumentation. Otherwise, this is a case where the cause is right and so is the music.