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[CD Cover, 16k JPEG, from CDnow] Dixie Chicks: Thank Heavens For Dale Evans
Track-by-track Review

Side 1

  1. The Cowboy Lives Forever (2:58)
    L. Goza, Ironside Music

    The Dixie Chicks make an immediate impact and let you know, right from the start, that this is traditional Western with a Chick twist. "There's a little bit of Roy and Dale in all of us," they sing, "Though all of us don't wear the cowboy boots and spurs." The first two choruses (listen to the CDnow sample) say, "The cowboy lives forever, as long as there's a faded pair of blue jeans." Listen closely to the final chorus, for the twist.

  2. I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart (2:19)
    Patsy Montana MCA Music (ASCAP)

    The Chicks continue the Western thread with their cover of this Patsy Montana classic. They do it justice with this fast-paced fiddle-laced version, complete with yodeling by Laura Lynch that you won't hear on anything out of Nashville today!

    I recently received a note from Jane Frost, director of the Patsy Montana Museum and Festival:

    Our web site is patsymontana.com. Not yet fully useful, but we did have it up and running in time for our annual Patsy Montana Festival. The Chicks recorded Patsy's "I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" on their Thank Heavens For Dale Evans album. Patsy enjoyed their recording of her song.

  3. Thunderheads (4:19)
    Lisa Brandenburg & Robin Lynn Macy
    © 1990 Little Red Hen Publishing

    This slow ballad, co-written by Robin Macy, is melancholy and entrancingly beautiful. It seems to capture a sense of the loneliness of life on the West Texas plains even more than does the more uptempo West Texas Wind.

    This may be Robin's signature song... at the Plano (Texas) Balloon Festival in 1992, when the Dixie Chicks came out for their encore, several voices in the crowd shouted out, "Thunderheads!" But by that time, Robin was no longer a Dixie Chick. Only slightly flustered, the remaining Chicks played Cowboy Lullabye (if I recall correctly), saying that it had "some of the same chords."

  4. Long Roads (2:23)
    John Kirk & Lorie Lichtenwalner
    © 1984 Quickstep Music (BMI)

    Alright, Sony, take notes... this is how you combine voice, fiddle, and banjo to make a whole that's greater than the sum of its parts. The song is fast and full of energy -- bluegrass for the bluegrass-impaired.

  5. Who Will Be The Next One (1:57)
    Angela Moore © 1988

    Robin takes us further into bluegrass territory with a song so fast-paced that it's hard to keep up!

  6. Brilliancy (2:17)

    The liner notes actually state that this is "traditional, arranged by Martie Erwin and the Dixie Chicks." This intrumental piece gives little sister Emily a chance to let her banjo be heard. Is that a non-chick Chick playing the mandolin?

  7. Thank Heavens For Dale Evans (2:55)
    Martie Erwin, Robin Lynn Macy & Lisa Brandenburg
    © 1990 Little Red Hen Publishing

    Sure, it's kitchy, but it's still a great song! "I'm proud enough to say that I'll always be this way, like the girl who went and stole Roy Rogers' heart." Sad to say, but I don't think the current Dixie Chicks lived up to this lyric.

Side 2

  1. This Heart Of Mine (2:28)
    Steven F. Brines and Jim Smoak
    Barren County Music (BMI)

    Bluegrass all the way... more info when I get my liner notes back together.

  2. Storm Out On The Sea (3:28)
    Mary Neal Northcut & Robin Lynn Macy
    © 1989 Little Red Hen Publishing

    This song of doomed love is a haunting combination of instrumentals and lyrics from two tracks on Danger in the Air's Airtight release, which was issued at almost the same time as Dale Evans.

  3. West Texas Wind (3:55)
    John Ims

    Natalie played this slow ballad as late as December 1997, and it would be a great addition to any "New Chicks" disc. According to Jane Frost (of patsymontana.com), the song was written by John Ims, who also wrote "She's In Love With The Boy" for Trisha Yearwood.

  4. Rider (2:54)

    Again, the liner notes credit this one as "arranged by the Dixie Chicks". Fast-paced knee-slapping bluegrass in amazing four-part harmony.

  5. Green River (3:18)
    Donna Cary © 1990

    Such a sweet, folk-inspired tune... until I read the liners, I assumed this song must have been another traditional song passed down through the generations.

  6. Salty (2:21)
    Kenny Baker, traditional

    This one is noted as "Arranged by Martie Erwin". Listening to this instrumental shows that those fiddle and banjo licks aren't manufactured in some Nashville factory. You've never heard a fiddle like this!

  7. Bring It On Home To Me (1:50)
    Sam Cooke and Charles Brown
    Kags Music Corp. (BMI)

    The girls pour so much sweetness into the four-part vocal harmonies that they had to bring in a guy (Drew Phelps) to play the acoustic bass for Laura. It's the only instrument on the track, and only accents the beautiful a capella sound. Many converts to the "Old Chicks" sound call this Sam Cooke song the best example of the Chicks' unique vocal blend.

Players on this album

This album doesn't give credits by track... just the following info in the liner notes:

Robin Lynn Macy: guitar, lead and harmony vocals
Laura Lynch: acoustic bass, lead and harmony vocals
Martie Erwin: fiddle, viola, harmony vocals
Emily Erwin: banjo, harmony vocals
With special guest Dave Peters on mandolin

Notice that this album is all acoustic... no electricity was used in its production. ;) Maybe that's why the times listed on the album don't match the running times on the CD... differences in egg timers.

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