By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
It only seems right, then, that the results of both collaborations (Live Dallas 1999 and Deatherage's self-titled EP) wound up in the office on the same day, only a few hours apart, in fact -- like fraternal twins, closely related but considerably different. On the surface, the discs have almost too much in common, Side 1 and Side 2 of the same album. You could even suggest, perhaps, that the records might as well have been released together. After all, both are gap-stoppers, something to fill spaces between real albums. Both were recorded quickly and cheaply; in Darlington's case, the cost of the entire recording process appears to have amounted to the price of a blank tape. (Live Dallas 1999 was recorded directly from the Galaxy Club's soundboard, which is fine, except for the fact that there wasn't enough room on the tape for the set's final two songs. And the Galaxy Club isn't known for its sound system.) Both are light on packaging -- Live Dallas 1999 comes in a plastic sleeve, and Deatherage's disc is in an unadorned jewel case -- presumably so they can pass the savings on to you. And both feature Visneau on drums and Deatherage on guitar.
Other than that, however, the records are as different as can be; like Donny and Marie, one's a little bit country, but the other one's all rock and roll. They're both traditional, sure, but we're talking about two different traditions here: When Deatherage sings about "How Love Goes," he's doing it from the stage of a sawdust-on-the-floor honky-tonk, where he's sharing a bill with Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams (the original, or maybe even Hank III, but not Bocephus). When Christy Darlington sings about how "Love" goes (a cut off 1998's Girltroversy), he's sandwiched between Screeching Weasel and the Ramones at CBGB's. In the end, it doesn't matter, because both discs do exactly what they're supposed to do: whet your appetite for more. Especially from Deatherage; it's been too long since we last heard from him -- 1998's Staring at the End, recorded with the Calways. And no, the MP3 of Tom Petty's "Accused of Love" that appears on his Web site (www.todddeatherage.com) doesn't count.
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