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Charlie Robison

Life Of The Party – 1998 (Lucky Dog)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Charlie Robison

Sometimes it's easy to confuse Charlie Robison with his brother Bruce. This album opens with "Poor Man's Son," the song Bruce performed on "Austin Country Nights," the CD that introduced both Robisons to the world in 1995. Sometimes it's easy to tell the brothers apart, as on the next track. "Sunset Boulevard" (the one Charlie did on "ACN") is the kind of humorous monologue on which he has a family monopoly.

Charlie also recycles a couple of tracks from his 1995 solo album, including the honky-tonk nursery rhyme "Barlight." The Tex-Mex styled "Don't Call Me A Fool" is a gem among the newer songs. But then, almost everything here is a jewel of some sort. Clever lyrics and catchy tunes are here in abundance, with solid stone-country production from Lloyd Maines and Charlie himself.

Robison is not blessed with the kind of voice that mainstream radio cherishes, but whether singing or reciting, he delivers everything with the passion many performers lack. The extensive use of recitation makes this album unique, but it's those other elements that make it exceptionally good.