Picks and Pans Review: Tied to the Tracks

updated 10/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Treat Her Right

Put this album on, close your eyes and let the scene unfold. You could be in any smoky bar where the ceiling hangs low and the beer is flowing freely. Four guys take a tiny stage, and soon a walking bass line kicks in with a woeful harmonica as its companion. But this is not just any bar band playing to bleary-eyed blues hounds: This is Treat Her Right, from Boston, playing with a sense of humor and an inner fire. Their second album doesn't deviate from the swampy blues style they demonstrated on last year's debut, but that's nothing to gripe about. Singer-guitarists Mark Sandman and David Champagne are still writing bona fide bad-luck songs with a wink. "She's driving a train called love...now I'm tied to the tracks again," wails Champagne on the title cut. "King of Beers" is no blatant plug for suds. It's about a pitiful man who is left looking at his life through the bottom of a mug. "Now I'm just the king of beers and lord of all I see/ Just a table full of empties." Champagne mimics the moaning vocal-slide guitar interplay that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page did so well in their early Zep days. Producer Don Gehman and engineer Jim Scott should get hearty thanks for creating such a spontaneous and eerie live sound. In fact, how about a round for everyone? Tied to the Trucks is cause for celebration. (RCA)

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