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Deana Carter

The Chain – 2007 (Vanguard)

Reviewed by Jeff Lincoln

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CDs by Deana Carter

In one of the more unusual "Take Your Daughter To Work" days ever, Deana Carter resurrects the tunes that her father, Fred Carter, Jr. helped make famous. Mr. Carter has been a renowned session guitarist, and some of the songs here are amongst the best ever: "Good Hearted Woman", "Crying" and "The Boxer."

Keeping true to the theme, though, is something of a cage. These songs almost assuredly would not be chosen for a "regular" covers record. Nearly all originally featured male singers, and Carter's high, ethereal voice can sound out of place. To pitch in, she recruits some of the original legends to re-sing their classics. George Jones, Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton are all game to try. Additionally other kids of the famous, such as Shooter Jennings and Harper Simon (son of Paul) participate.

But the duets, either from the deterioration of age or newness of youth, can't hold up next to the songs being referenced. Willie Nelson takes part in a plodding arrangement of "On the Road Again." On the original, you could picture yourself merrily singing it on a rolling tour bus. This one feels like it's run into a ditch.

The individual Carter vocal flights work much better: Her solo "The Weight," "Old Man" and "Lay, Lady, Lay" (you read that right) are the best of the bunch. But you can skip this effort as a too-personal project: it's love letter between daughter and Dad, and Deana Carter doesn't need our help to send it.