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Randy Krbechek's Metronews
Music Reviews

Randy's Buttons

July 16, 1997

Smile When You Say That


Andrew Lloyd WebberVarious artists, Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Broadway Collection (Polydor 1996) - Andrew Lloyd Webber needs little introduction. His albums have sold more than 50 million copies, and his shows have been blockbusters on stages around the world.

Born in 1948, Andrew Lloyd Webber has enjoyed a remarkable career. His scores reflect a contemporary appreciation of rock and pop and blend them with the more traditional opera, musical theater, and liturgical canon to cross boundaries and set records. In addition to his stage successes, his awards include six Tony Awards and three Grammy Awards.

The Broadway Collection features 18 showtunes recorded by the artists who made them famous from the stage. Songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, Requiem, Aspects of Love, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard are included, together with the previously unreleased title track from Sir Andrew's latest UK theatrical smash, By Jeeves.

The Broadway Collection includes Yvonne Elliman's "I Don't Know How to Love Him," Sarah Brightman's reading of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" (though I prefer Madonna's version), and Donny Osmond's "Close Every Door" (from Joseph). Also featured are "Mr. Mistoffelees" by the original broadway cast of Cats, "The Music of the Night" by Michael Crawford, and "With One Look" by Glenn Close.

For fans and newcomers alike, The Broadway Collection is a great introduction.

Buick MacCaneBuick MacCane, The Pawn Shop Years (Ryko 1997) - Buick MacCane (the title comes from a song by T-Rex) is yet another band anchored by Alejandro Escovedo. Based in Austin, Texas, The Pawn Shop Years features Escovedo's signature sound - uptempo roots rock, with snarling guitars and worldly, angry lyrics.

Formed (rather loosely) in 1989, Buick MacCane features Escovedo on vocals and guitar, Joe Eddy Hines on guitar, David Fairchild on bass and vocals, and Glenn Benavides on drums. The Pawn Shop Years features nine Escovedo/Buick originals that were recorded during sessions in 1993 and 1996. (For hardcore fans, two tracks from the album's initial 1993 session have appeared on Escovedo's solo records.)

Escovedo's had a lot of hurt in his life, and that's reflected in Buick MacCane. Says Escovedo, "We play mean, catty, bitchy little songs, but we're making fun of ourselves as well as everything else around us."

And that about sums up The Pawn Shop Years. If you want driving guitar rock by a talented bar band with an attitude, look for The Pawn Shop Years.

I'm becoming disappointed by Escovedo; I've tried hard to make the connection, but his anger at the injustices in the world keeps getting in the way. Though Escovedo has many loyal friends who attest to his musical skills.

Corbin-Hanner BandCorbin-Hanner Band, Live (Silver Eagle/King Biscuit 1997) - If you've been reading this column for awhile, you know that country music isn't my main bag. Too much twang turns me off - give me a good pop ditty any day.

So when a country album turns my ear, there's something special about it. And the Corbin-Hanner Band has that special something.

Live was recorded on January 8, 1982 at the renowned Palomino Club in Los Angeles, California. The album features the strong songwriting skills of Bob Corbin and Dave Hanner, including "Oklahoma Crude," "Country Singer," "Wings of My Victory," and "Lord, I Hope This Day is Good." Also included is an early version of "Work Song," which became a radio hit in 1990.

The partnership between Bob Corbin and Dave Hanner goes back to the eighth grade, when they cut their first sides as a duo. After high school, they moved to Pittsburgh and recorded their first album for Columbia Records in 1972.

Setting their sights on Nashville, the pair found that Music City wasn't yet ready for a country band with two lead singers (though Brooks & Dunn would later follow), from an urban background (though Mary Chapin Carpenter would later emerge from Washington, D.C.).

But the duo's songwriting skills could not be ignored. Mel Tillis turned "Blind in Love" into a top ten hit in 1979, and Don Williams scored big success in 1981 with "Lord I Hope This Day is Good." The twosome split up in the 1980s and focused on writing hits for other acts (including "Fire in the Night," which Alabama took to number one in 1984), before reuniting in 1989 for even bigger success with such songs as "Work Song" and "Concrete Cowboy."

I have often said that good songwriting holds up. And Live From the Palomino holds true to this adage. Corbin and Hanner have a pleasant crossover style, and a great knack for a catchy tune. With terrific sound quality and informative liner notes, Live From the Palomino is a slice of country history that deserves a fresh listen.

-- Randy Krbechek

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