Black Music Matters Festival

Jerry Jeff lacks energy

House of Blues, Hollywood, Cal., June 13, 1998

By Dan MacIntosh

HOLLYWOOD, CA - The faithful gathered once more to hear the number one rebel cowboy take the stage to sing his redneck cowboy party anthems. Although Jerry Jeff Walker was a polite party host, he lacked the energy to keep this house rocking all night long.

In the beginning, Walker's take on "Trashy Women" (an ode to the kind of girls who prefer a little too much make-up) had one frumpy little girl dancing and spinning all around the club - from her seat at one end of the club, to the bar on the opposite side.

But by the time he reached the conclusion of his set with a trio of songs from his latest album "Cowboy Boots & Bathin' Suits," that chunky dancer was all out of spin, and the same could be said for Walker.

The fans still soaked it all up, singing along with signature songs like "Redneck Mother" and cheering on each and every (endless) number about the state of Texas. Yet, watching Walker seemed a little bit like asking Mr. Bojangles to dance -on a night when he really didn't seem to have it in him.

His band The Gonzo Compadres kept things lively with their straight three-piece rock & country playing. They've probably been through these paces too many times count, but they never gave any indication of just going through the motions.

Walker's repertoire deserves better treatment than the uninspired singing it was given throughout. Let's hope this was just a bad night on a long tour, instead of a symptom of artistic boredom.