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Phil Lee

The Mighty King Of Love – 2000 (Shanachie)

Reviewed by Michael Berick

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CDs by Phil Lee

With a rascally growl recalling Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Steve Forbert, Nashvillean Phil Lee sings about love's winners and losers and life at the trailer park end of town. On his marvelous debut, Lee demonstrates a real knack for humorous, if sometimes politically incorrect, lyrics - as in his tale about a free-loader, "She Ran Out Of Give (Before I Ran Out Of Take)" or the ill-match lovers' story, "Blueprint For Disaster," where "y' take one blonde telecaster, one blonde from Des Moines, y' gotcha blueprint for disaster."

The raggedly charming Lee bangs out his 13-song set with roadhouse zeal and beer-soaked, Berry-derived riffs. But behind his barroom bravado, there's a surprising sensitivity. The self-deprecating, soft-spoken track title sounds like "Blood On The Tracks"-era Dylan, while "One Day When Nobody's Watching" concludes the record with a sincere expression of love.

While Lee has bounced around the music biz, he stands tall here, revealing himself to be a talented roots rocker - whether he's dishing out sardonic ironies or straight-from-the-heart emotions.