|Now Here's Union Avenue - Union Avenue
Raucous Records RAUCD 173
According to their own biography Union Avenue plays least expected cover versions of popular songs in the style of Johnny Cash during his early Sun session years in the 1950s. From Pink Floyd to the Stones and Bob Marley to Creedence, Union Avenue make these songs sound like they were written by, or for, Cash.
Well, I agree, and this is the strong - and at the same time a weaker - point of this kind of approach. Let me begin with the brilliant kudos of this CD. I'm totally blown away by their versions of "Walk on The Wild side", "Sympathy for the Devil", "Should I stay or Should I Go" and "White Wedding". By stripping these songs bare to the bone they reveal that a well written song remains a good song, even if it is performed with a basic line up and pre-synthesizer instruments. It is so refreshing to hear their version of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" played in a honky tonk way, complete with pedalsteel guitar and Johnny Cash-like vocals. Billy Idols' "White Wedding" comes out as a country & western evergreen and it feels like it's meant to be that way. Likewise for "Should I Stay Or Should I Go". Brilliant!
The hallmark of Union Avenue is their Johnny Cash sound, which is caught suberb by the band, and especially singer Andrew Cardno and guitarist Paul "Luther" Paterson. Now that the Man in Black himself is gone to the great huntingfields in the sky, Union Avenue is the band that could fill in this huge gap left by Mr. Cash.
Well, there's also a point of critic that I have to take into considderation of course. Like the Man in Black himself, there's not much variation, but I guess some may call that a blessing. And who am I to pooh pooh a gimmick that was surely good enough for Johnny Cash! All in all, this is an outstanding CD which I will slip in my CD player many times, now and in the future!
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Reviewed by Uncle_B, 2005
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