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A Strange Sort of Prayer – 1998 (Flying Harold)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Cropduster

It's almost inevitable that bands leaning more towards rock than country will face comparisons to The Replacements. Cropduster is certainly no exception. You hear the mighty sMats - live and drunk - in Andrew Asp's Westerbergy vocals and Cropduster's tales - told with guitars screaming and pedal steel crying - about the unsatisfied and the achin' to be and the bastards of young, with one foot in the door and the other in the gutter.

Even still, the album works better when the twang level gets turned up and the guitar feedback turned down ("Leonard's Blues," "A Man Doesn't Cry" and "A Wake For a Friend") than when the opposite is the case ("Airstream" and "Gullwing (Delorean's Dream)").

Lyrically, the band is nearly always interesting. How can you not like a line like "as he cleaned the skillet clean he sang a little tune about a girl with hazel eyes crying to the moon" ("Leonard's Blues"). Good stuff and a good debut. (Flying Harold, Box 750272, Petaluma, CA 94975-0272 or E-Mail: