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Jimmy La Fave | Texoma
"Texoma is a kind of musical celebration of the kinship between Texas and Oklahoma" goes the press release for Country troubadour Jimmy La Fave's first studio album in four years. The truth however is, as always, short of the promise. First track, Bad Bad Girl, has La Fave drawling in that annoying Dylan circa '83 vocal style that he's so fond of. A dull blues with lyrics as predictable as its title. Next up is a misguided cover of the late John Philips' San Francisco (Wear Flowers in Your Hair) - a song that was twee and cloying when it came out and for which time has done no favours. Bad taste starts to leak through this record like rain through a paper roof. It's all lovingly and proficiently played but damn, it's slick as a salesman and twice as boring. Some people may dare to call it alt.country but this tired singer songwriter effort is just as conformist and bland as your Shanias and Garths. The songs alternate evenly between pub-band blues rockers and soppy ballads filled with empty sentiment that make La Fave sound like the long lost country brother of Michael Bolton. There's even the now obligatory Woody Guthrie tribute, imaginatively entitled Woody Guthrie. "Woody Guthrie you mean so much to me" La Fave sings in that faux soul way before coming out with such homilies as "You help the common man learn / That the faith of the poor is a treasure / No rich man can see." There's also a series of songs which are 'celebrations' of Rock 'n' Roll (Rock 'n' Roll Music to the World which is as bad as the title suggests, Elvis Loved His Mama and On The Road to Rock and Roll with its invocations of "Asbury Park / The lost highway / You're on the road / To rock and roll.") La Fave is respected in certain areas as a premier Dylan interpreter (his last live album featured 12 Dylan tunes!) but his uninspired take on Dylan's equally uninspired Emotionally Yours is something I don't care to hear again. The kind of album that still gives country a bad name.

Joe Toledo
June-July 2001

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