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Jerry Jeff Walker

Moon Child – 2009 (Tried and True Music)

Reviewed by Don Armstrong

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CDs by Jerry Jeff Walker

In the liner notes to this ballad-heavy collection, Jerry Jeff Walker denigrates, in startlingly harsh terms, a 1978 cover he did of I'll Be Your San Antone Rose. Maybe it's just marketing. The earlier album, "Too Old to Change," has been discontinued, while "Moon Child" must make its way in a harsh new music world in which it is only available as a download. Once again, San Antone is the high point - more lush here in a duet with Christine Albert than with a raspy-voiced Carole King. Walker, then, was more off-the-cuff and ultimately better, though not by much. It is a contrast that squarely positions this album in a consistently strong career that has generally seen Walker at his best in live situations.

There are no rough edges here. In fact, Walker's satisfaction with his present circumstances veers toward the maudlin at times in a lineup of songs heavy on love, marriage and time spent in the Caribbean. It is saved by its cover tunes, including Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown and an upbeat, unexpected closing with John Denver's Back Home Again. Jerry Jeff Walker on familiar ground is not a bad thing.