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Various Artists

A Moment Of Forever – 2000 (Buddha/Justice)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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Originally released in 1995, this collection of all-new material didn't seem to get anywhere, probably because of the distribution problems suffered by its small Texas label. Reissued now, it forms a fine companion to last year's "Austin Sessions," a set of remakes of some of the singer/songwriter's most popular numbers.

Produced by Don Was, the CD finds Kristofferson backed by big name veterans like Benmont Tench, Waddy Wachtel, Reggie Young and Jim Keltner. Kristofferson's craggy voice is something of an acquired taste, with its half-spoken rhythms and spoken asides, but it's one that he's obviously comfortable with, and he uses it well here while background singers ranging from Jonell Mosser and Billy Swan to Sweet Pea Atkinson keep right with him, smoothing the rough edges without losing the feeling. As a writer, Kristofferson's always had a gift for melodies and for lyrics so plain-spoken that they sometimes teeter on the verge of self-parody. The songs here continue in that tradition, whether they're in the intimate vein of a love song like the title track or a social commentary like "Slouching Toward The Milennium," with its references to Noriega, Saddam Hussein and David Koresh - clear evidence that Kristofferson's creative powers haven't waned with age.

For those who missed it the first time around, the reissue of is a clear case of better late than never.