Home Read Classic Album Review: The Flatlanders | Now Again

Classic Album Review: The Flatlanders | Now Again

The legendary Texas trio skirt the sophomore slump on their first LP in 30 years.

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This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


This has got to be a record — it took Texas troubadours The Flatlanders a full 30 years to get around to following up their prophetically titled 1972 debut More A Legend Than A Band.

Luckily for them (and us), Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock manage to skirt the sophomore slump with this set of classic, classy roots music. Even better, they really haven’t changed their tune that much. Oh sure, the production is a bit cleaner and crisper than the old days, but their mesmerizing interconnected vocals — Jimmie Dale’s warbling tenor, Butch’s tangy twang and Joe’s gruff bar-room belt — are as good as they ever were. Heck, even Steve Wesson’s musical saw is back for an encore. If there’s one change this time out, it’s that the band are more democratic. Instead of writing songs individually, the trio collaborated on all but two of these 14 tracks, with marvelous results. From the gentle sway of Going Away and the honky-tonk swing of Wavin’ My Heart Goodbye to the acoustic folk-blues of Right Where I Belong and the roadhouse rock of Pay The Alligator, Now Again proves that The Flatlanders are much, much more than the sum of their parts. In other words, now they’re more a band than a legend. Buy this — after all, who knows how long we’ll have to wait for another album.