Picks and Pans Review: Rodney Crowell

updated 11/16/1981 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/16/1981 AT 01:00 AM EST

Rodney Crowell

Crowell is a brilliant singer-songwriter in the L.A.-rockabilly groove whose 1978 debut LP, Ain't Living Long Like This, was about as impressive as a first album can be. This one is better. Crowell's songs drive forward with crunching energy and his production quality is sizzling. Stars on the Water and Keith Sykes' Just Wanta Dance kick off the first side, and if you're still sitting down after these two cuts, call the neurologist. The next song, Guy Clark's sweet She Ain't Going Nowhere, is a stunning ballad that recalls the Eagles' Peaceful, Easy Feeling. Crowell's matchless crew of backup musicians powers through these songs with a breathtaking sound. Albert Lee's lead guitar is at its nimble, lyrical best, Richard Bennett's solo on Just Wanta Dance can scorch your ears, and Larrie Londin's drumming and Emory Gordy's bass tie it all down securely when the guitar gusts start to blow. Crowell can sing plaintively, and he puts a fine bluesy edge on his rockers, while his wife, Roseanne Cash, lends fine harmonic support. His songwriting is always intelligent, and he is capable of poetic invention ("Gypsy rains dang hurricanes white silver sandy shores/Blue light lounge is shinin' way out on the pier"). No finer album of L.A. music has been made.

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