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Radney Foster

Del Rio Tx Revisited: Unplugged & Lonesome – 2012 (Devil's River)

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

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CDs by Radney Foster

Radney Foster, who had his only 2 top 10 hits as a performer with songs from his classic "Del Rio, TX 1959," releases "Del Rio, TX Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome," significantly improving the 1992 Arista performances.

The sequencing has been minimally refigured - moving Old Silver up and Went for A Ride down in the lineup balances things nicely. Louisiana Blue benefits greatly from the sparse presentation - the lyrics possess greater resonance, and the new mood is tender. Listening to this new version of Closing Time, one realizes how over-produced the original sessions were: timely, but in hindsight a bit over-wrought.

A Fine Line is turned on its head, with the aggressive propulsion of drums and rock 'n' roll arrogance replaced with awareness bred of maturity. The protagonist doesn't come off any better than he did in the original, but that's his own fault. With Jack Ingram singing backup, Hammer and Nails remains perfect.

Primary to the sessions are Dixie Chicks' Martie Maguire (fiddle, vocals), Jon Randall Stewart (guitar, vocals), Glenn Fukunaga (doghouse bass), Michael Ramos (Wurlitzer, accordion), Matt Borer (percussion), and the original album's producer, Steve Fishell (resonator guitars). While the choruses remain familiar, the tempos and textures are entirely new - and they work. Man, do they work! As anyone who enjoyed Foster & Lloyd's "It's Already Tomorrow" will attest, Foster's voice remains identifiable and spot-on.

While nostalgia favors the Arista release, ears prefer "Del Rio, TX Revisited: Unplugged and Lonesome."