This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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The same principle we, the smitten and weak-kneed, applied to female classmates like Ashley O'Toole back in high school, works with The Waybacks. Yep, there are string bands and then there are String Bands! But calling this quintet simply a string band is akin to calling grand artists such as Van Gogh or Monet doodlers.
This is a band born out of an Appalachia, Nashville and Texas menage a trois--the gene pool consisting of bluegrass, country, swing and a few rogue chromosomes. The resulting offspring is a unique, uncategorizeable sound. Let's call it Waybackian--generally melodic, sometimes frenzied, but always crisp, different and fun.
The offerings on their latest release, "Burger After Church," consist of seven instrumentals and four songs, the highlight being the debut of Archie Fisher's "The Return." An elegantly crafted and delivered eight minute sequel to his classic, "Witch of The Westmereland," this one is THE signature song here. Also pay attention to "Down From Iona" and the Bob Wills-ish sounding "Bright Place."
The opening tune, "Turkish Stalemate," with a lively double mandolin-delivered Middle Eastern casbah twang, is the signature instrumental. It's infectious rhythm would undoubtedly get the Sphinx to loosen up and smile.
The frenetic "Prairie Doggin'," a cut that would wreak havoc on the solemnity of any occasion, is a close second, followed by "Gulshion Island" and "Saltflat Rhapsody." "Temporary Cheese" is a jazzy, synthesized sounding concluding number.
For someone as lyric-oriented as myself, "Burger After Church" proved to be an irresistable distraction. Give it this test: try and accomplish anything with it on as background music. My money says close to an hour later you'll be saying to yourself "now where was I?"
Robin Williamson has his Incredible String Band. It would be in his best interest to consider switching band menbers.
The Waybacks consist of James Nash on guitar, mandolin and vocals; Wayne Jacques on fiddle, mandolin and vocals; Stevie Coyle on guitar and vocals; Joe Kyle Jr. on bass and Chuck Hamilton on drums and percussion.
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