Charlie Robison

Texan rabble-rouser Charlie Robison's hell-raising has been outshined lately by that of his freedom-fighting wife, Dixie Chick Emily Erwin; pissing off George W., though not hard, isn't easy to follow. Still, Robison's boisterous recent live album, Live, is not without its rough edges: In his brother Bruce's "You're Not the Best," Robison exchanges Hugh Hefner's relatively respectable Playboy magazine for Larry Flynt's definitely lewd Hustler (and comes clean about his "dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty-ass dreams"); he sneers, kills and cries at the bar in the tightly wound murder ballad "Loving County" (in which drunken fans play willing backup vocalists); he scuffs up scruffy stuff by AC/DC, the Stones and Steve Miller in a series of medleys that give the medley a not-bad name. He talks a whole lot, too, in a sort of rodeo-hepcat whine that gives his rambling recollection of teenage wastelanding in "Tonight" real weight; try not to believe him when he says that the girls in his truck always wanted to hear REO Speedwagon or that Schaefer beer tastes "damn good" to a 16-year-old with 20 bucks to his and his three friends' names.
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Mikael Wood

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