Quick Drawl,
Two Dollar Buffet
(Dry River Bed Records, 1999)

Two Dollar Buffet is a pretty good album by Quick Drawl, a quirky, skilled quartet consisting of Joe Rideout (vocals, guitar and mandolin), John Troutman (vocals, mandolin and guitar), Miss Darlene (fiddle and vocals on "You Tried to Ruin my Name") and Geoff Union (harmony vocals and upright bass).

The sound they produce is smooth and flowing, wrapping itself around the lyrics and pulling the listener in -- when it works. Fortunately, it works almost all of the time.

It took a while for the music to pull me into the first song, "I Threw it All Away," and until it does, the track just seems to be missing something. The only other song that does not work is "You Tried to Ruin my Name." The music is good, I just can't quite put a finger on why I don't like Miss Darlene's singing. Maybe it is too close to spoken, maybe it is too flat, I don't know, it just does nothing for me.

But the rest of the time, they are well worth the listen. There are four tracks without lyrics, and while they sometimes pick up the tempo from the previous songs, they are good and the change of pace doesn't take long to get used to. They are "Deadwood Sam," "Ditchin' the Cops," "Darlene's Waltz" and "Jackie, Let's Get Loaded for Free."

"Force on the Workforce" is one of the few up-tempo songs and it is fun to listen to, despite a touch of darkness in the words.

The rest of the songs use an interesting blend of imagery to look at life. There is plenty of merit to listen to, even with the lyrics often evoking a mild sadness. "Lydleburg" and, to a lesser extent, "Wedding in Mobile" are more songs of quiet reminiscence.

"Road Signs," "Hold the Bag" and "Katie's Room" touch on the never sweet sorrow of parting for good. "One Room 'Stead" takes a look at the coming destruction of a house. And that leaves us with "Iron Brand," and that is one you will have to listen to if you want to know what it is about. It is hard to explain, but it is good.

This CD is worth a listen to, and you would do well to pick it up. Just give it a bit to pull you in, be ready to skip one track later on and you'll be set.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]

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