Cross Canadian Ragweed

Live At Billy Bob's Texas – 2002 (Smith Music Group)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

CDs by Cross Canadian Ragweed

"Live..." has a more polished sound than Cross Canadian Ragweed's previous "Live at the Wormy Dog." The set is kicked off with "Long Way Home," Canada's tribute to his father who served as a machine-gunner in Vietnam, which Canada pulls off without being overly sentimental. This is also true of the ballads "Alright" and "Johnny's Song." Elsewhere, the band rocks hard on "42 Miles," "Bang My Head" and "Carney Man." They also appear to be unconcerned with political correctness where drugs are concerned as the humorous "Boys From Oklahoma" comes off as an endorsement of marijuana use reminiscent of Jonathan Edwards' "Shanty."

The most topical tune here is "President Song" in which among other things Canada vows to dispose of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

Canada is the focal point of the band with his effective vocals, slick guitar playing and Dylanesque harmonica, and he is well supported by band mates Grady Cross (rhythm guitar), Randy Ragsdale (drums) and Jeremy Plato (bass and harmony vocals).

This impressive release has Cross Canadian Ragweed poised to spread their music beyond Oklahoma and Texas.