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The Sweetback Sisters

Chicken Ain't Chicken – 2009 (Signature Sounds)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by The Sweetback Sisters

The Sweetback Sisters have a sense of humor and passion for traditional country instrumentation. On their new disc, they are unafraid to make liberal use of both. The fact that the album's title is from a phrase in Roger Miller's My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died, a song included on the disc's 13 songs, is more than enough evidence of the sense of humor. It also continues a short-standing tradition. The group included Miller's Kansas City Star on the six-song EP Bang the year before.

Vocally there is much to like here. The singing comes from Zara Bode and Emily Miller. Harmony seems to come quite naturally from the pair, though both are equally capable of soloing in a variety of styles. Miller also provides some fiddle to the proceedings.

The material runs through a whole collection of different sounds. The only one that didn't quite work somehow was the Western feel of the first song, I Want to be a Real Cowboy Girl. But that's the only misstep out of 13 songs. Highlights are the more contemporary You're Gone (Again) along with the more traditional The Sweetest Gift: A Mother's Smile.