A Review of the CD
"Walkin' Down The Line"
by Rick Robbins

"Walkin' Down The Line"
by Rick Robbins

Copyright 1997
Seed Of Man Records
P.O. Box 291
Housatonic, MA 02136

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Move over Tom Russell! You'd better hope your draw is quick and your aim is true 'cause the western ballad music business ain't big enough for both you and Rick Robbins. One of ya is gonna have to gittyup and mosey on, or settle this once and for all out in front of the saloon.

Seriously, Rick Robbins' first release features several western ballads that illuminate this batch of eclectic songs. His splendid renditions of "Diamond Joe," "Buffalo Skinnners," and Guy Clark's "Desperados Waiting For A Train" are his best combinations of vocals and material. Ramblin' Jack Elliott embellishes "Desperados Waiting For A Train," covering some of the verses and blending with the harmonies.

His cover of Woody Guthrie's "East Texas Red," about a brutal railroad brakeman getting his karmic reward, is another of the story-songs performed quite well.

Robbins' version of Jimmy Webb's relatively unknown and unsung "The Highway Man" is yet another ballad highlight, albeit not necessarily sporting an entirely western motif.

The sorrowful and indicting "Tramp On The Street" provides a nice change of pace with Rory Block and Robbins sharing vocals on this quiet but biting theme of brotherhood, or lack thereof.

"Hobo's Lullaby," performed by many others including Woody Guthrie and Utah Phillips, features some soft and sentimental mandolin and fiddle licks but Robbins' vocals on this cut are just a tad strong, lacking the touch of wistfulness needed to fulfill the song's poignancy.

For being an unknown, Robbins' offerings are a pleasant surprise. Definitely consider this release if you're a sucker for ballads, especially those with a western bent.

Robbins is ably assisted by Rory Block, who also produced the release, on guitar and vocals; John Sebastian on harmonica; Eric Weissburg on mandolin and dobro; and Larry Campbell on mandolin and fiddle. Arlo Guthrie lends vocals and guitar on "Low & Lonely."

Track List:

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