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And frontman Freddy Krc's explicit pseudopolitical rants and stabs at sociorelevance--"I rage against the leaders who only tell us lies" and "I saw a hippie on T.V., he just wanted freedom"--have a decidedly dated, silly feel. The song dedicated to Woody Guthrie wears especially thin and grows laughable as it coopts and misinterprets its "inspiration": Krc sings he "don't belong to no party but I'd like to go to one" (Guthrie, of course, was a devout Communist), then mentions that this land is his land and our land, and closes by asking Guthrie if he can sing some of his songs. (What is that I hear? A NO?)
Rather, it's on the less overwrought numbers--the more personal, low-key travelogues through Texas, Arizona, and London, and the narrative-driven relationship songs--where Jerry Jeff Walker drummer Krc (pronounced Prince--no, wait) and his band (including guitarist John Inmon, also a Jerry Jeff veteran) succeed. They sound like a '70s British pub-rock band fronted by Joe Ely--which means they sound like the Byrds trying to sound like a country band trying to sound like a rock band. Once upon a time, Krc was in a band that backed up Roky Erickson for a few years (they can be heard on the 1986 release Gremlins Have Pictures, perhaps the weakest of Roky's later releases); now, his band is preparing to contribute some tracks to an upcoming Hollies tribute album, and he's a damned sight better singer than Terry Sylvester, for what it's worth.
The Shakin' Apostles perform January 13 at the Sons of Hermann Hall--marking the first time Randell Fields and Mike Snider have brought in a non-country band to the hallowed halls. (Least it isn't Jerry Jeff himself.)
The following night at the Orbit Room, El-Vez--the Elvis impersonator with a Latin accent and a social conscience who somehow gets the folks to take him seriously (for a joke, that is)--makes his return to the Orbit Room. Personally, I wait for Oy-Vez, the Yiddish facsimile whose rendition of "In the Warsaw Ghetto" is a real weeper.