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Feature Review #1
This is alt.country. This is the stuff!
Two Roads -- Live in Australia
Butch Hancock/Jimmie Dale Gilmore
I became aware of Butch Hancock when he opened for Cowboy Junkies in '89.

I became aware of Jimmie Dale Gilmore when i bought the import of this album long before it was available on a US label.

Butch and Jimmie Dale are, individually, excellent songwriters and performers in a "high lonesome" style.

Together they are dynamite.

From the opening track, A.P. Carter's "Hello Stranger" on to the end, with Butch's truly surreal "West Texas Waltz" (with some of the most outrageous rhymes ever perpetrated with a straight face) there are no low points in this album, only, as Lucy van Pelt once put it "ups and upper ups".

Jimmie Dale's "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown" and "Dallas" are meditations on the two sides of the coin of the urban experience.

"Howlin' at Midnight" could be vintage Hank Sr. -- i understand it's by Lucinda Williams.

Butch's "Two Roads" and "Already Gone" illustrate what Joe Ely has described as Butch's tendency to write "seven minute novellas", but they're fine stuff, for all that -- especially "Gone" with its transition from a song about blighted love to its pointed commentary on the treatment of First American tribes.

"Firewater (Seeks Its Own Level)" always put me in mind of a friend who used to play bass in another band.

"Special Treatment" (with Paul Kelly) is a song about a real Australian Government program to take Aborigine infants to be raised in white homes to help the Abos "acculturate" faster... Sad and quiet, it's horrifying in its implications.

This is a Very Special Album -- two of the Austin/alt.country movement's leading lights, together, live, at their peak.