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Deryl Dodd

One Ride In Vegas – 1997 (Columbia)

Reviewed by Don Yates

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CDs by Deryl Dodd

This Texan's debut album begins with one of the finest honky-tonk songs of the year. In classic country fashion, "Friends Don't Drive Friends..." takes a slogan and twists it into a bitter tale of betrayal while putting it across with a hardcore honky-tonk shuffle.

Unfortunately, there isn't much else on the album that's in its class. Dodd wrote all but two songs, and while "Friends..." shows Dodd's capable of writing great songs, too many others rely on lyrical cliches and Nashville musical formulas. Uptempo singalongs with simplistic lyrics such as "Movin' Out To The Country," "Somethin' Like That" and "13 MWZ" sound like calculated moves designed for the HNC dance floor, and "This Ol' World" and "I Can Love You" are undistinguished power ballads.

A few other songs show Dodd's potential, especially his impassioned performance on Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got To Memphis." Still, Dodd's going to need a few more moments of inspiration if he wants to stand out from the HNC crowd.