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The Tractors

Trade Union – 2009 (Koch)

Reviewed by Jeff Lincoln

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CDs by The Tractors

The Tractors' music is ideal for those with long memories and can play a little guitar. Stephen King counts himself a fan. This is that flavor of boogie-woogie blues harkening back to when songs could be written and recorded in the same session, including a long lunch break. The handclaps sound like handclaps. Those who insist on deep thoughts or high production polish can file in another line.

Bob Dylan recently name-checked Tractors singer/songwriter/leader Steve Ripley as one of his best guitarist partners. Ripley's vocals aren't quite on par with his ax chops - it's a guttural drawl that's usually found buried somewhere deep in the mix. But this set is all in the service of a good time, so one can't quibble too much. The opener Up Jumped the Boogie sets off on a rollicking reason to do the twist. Next up is an unnecessary, but earnest, cover of Pick Me Up on Your Way Down (Charlie Walker still owns this one). Rhythm Bone rights the ship, with a clever symbolic likening of fidelity to keeping a perfect backbeat. The best track on the record wraps it up, with the surprising It's Only Love aping Aerosmith. Ripley clearly enjoys throwing in a wildcard track. But all "Trade Union" really aims for is to bring back a time when even the sad songs invited another turn around the dance floor.