Frank James "All Over Again....."
Style: Traditional Country
"Lefty" Frank James has been playing music since he was seven and has been a professional country picker since the 1960's. He spent considerable time in Nashville writing for the Fandango TV show, making connections and hanging out at the Grand Ole' Opry. James returned to Madison in the mid 80's and owned the very popular Country Corners bar where his band, the Honkytonk Cowboys, served as the house band.
To James there are two kinds of music: country and western. All Over Again is a testament to this philosophy and is filled with great, original, hardcore country, cajun, honky-tonk and country blues. This cd rocks- that is 2-steps with authority. James is backed by some of the greatest A-team studio players from Nashville on this disc: Pig Robbins on the keys, Pete Wade on guitars, Hoot Hester on fiddle and background vocals, John Wesley Riles on background vocals, Gene Chrisman on drums and Mike Leech on bass. The performances are nearly flawless.
All Over Again was produced by Pete Wade who has played with Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Johnny Bush, the Everly Brothers and countless others. Wade's past production work and rich history within the country music arena made him a great choice for this project. Recording was done at Hilltop Studios in Nashville and at Randy's Recording studio in Cottage Grove. Both studios did an outstanding job capturing James doing what he does best.
The CD starts out with the Marty Robbins-influenced song "When The Cowboys Are Gone". The Spanish guitar work by Pete Wade sounds just like Grady Martin's work on the classic El Paso. James's near-perfect Robbins vocal imitation adds to the flavor of this tune and the harmonies by Riles and Hester are dead on.
Another stand out cut is "The Ballad Of Shirley D.". This song about
Shirley Dawson and her husband Jim "the Dixie Drifter" Dawson will bring a smile to the faces of those who remember these two Madison country music pioneers. The Dixie Drifter was a DJ at WMAD the first time it was country and Shirley did the weather. Some of you youngsters may even remember Shirley from her days at Q106.
The cajun-flavored "I Can Get Down" is a hilarious tribute to old guys trying to party in the new millenium. If you don't tap your foot to this song, your rhythm bone is broken. James's humor comes through on many of his songs such as "What's A Nice Girl Like You (Doing In A Nice Place Like This)".
The other songs are a mixture of 2-steps, a Hank Jr.-style Waltz, Honky-tonk and straight ahead country rock. James's deep baritone voice is the common element true and strong.
Lefty has hit a homerun with this CD and it's good to know that there is still some real country music being made around Madison. All Over Again, and other CDs and merchandise, are available at James's website. He also performs monthly at local clubs.