Critics aren’t supposed to review albums by their friends, but I can’t help it: Let me tell you about my longtime lunch-mate from Dripping Springs, Cornell. His ten-piece honky-tonk swing band, which specializes in jump and shuffles, is as tight as the Bush family on Election Night while boasting brilliant soloists like Paul Skelton (whose Ginsu guitar chops and slices “Rawhide”). They’re joined by quality guests like Howard Kalish (Don Walser’s fiddler) and Johnny Bush, the king of the ballroom balladeers. Cornell writes or revives straight-ahead country songs like “157 Linmore Drive,” which manage to fit with deadpan fare like “What Would Ernest Tubb Have Done?” and three tunes that pay tribute to Doug Sahm. And you’ll probably never find another country set that closes with a double shot like the weeper “The Genitalia of a Fool” (okay, the boy’s got a bit of a potty mouth) or the improvised, lyric surrealism like Blackie White’s “People Are Asleep, Dreaming of Cheese.” Trust me and try it.
From the December 2000 Issue Subscribe