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Cow Bop: Too Hick for the Room

Publisher: B4Man Music

Music has a grand tradition of borrowing, whether you consider Mozart inserting snippets of popular tunes in his original compositions, jazz musicians inserting bits of Mozart into their improvised solos, or hip-hop artists sampling jazz solos as the backdrop for some radio single... The musicians on Cow Bop: Too Hick for the Room fit nicely into this canon by mashing up a line dancer's dream ensemble with arrangements that wouldn't be out of place on Woody Herman's bandstand. The outcome is joyful, virtuosic, and unexpected. The only disappointment is the cartoon designs that grace the CD packaging, making this look most like a compilation for children rather than a batch of impressive musical talent.

The track listing on Too Hick for the Room shows a bevy of classics, matched to the band's solid vocalist, Pinto Pammy. Judging by the photo of Cow Bop from the CD's inside flap, half the band looks under 30 and the other half can't be far into their 40s. We mention this because the songs chosen for Too Hick for the Room are more likely to have emotional ties for folks over 50. Dance bands in the olden days probably never ended a night without at least one run through "Tennessee Waltz," and tunes like "San Antonio Rose" and "Besame Mucho" found their audience back in the sock-hop days. Vocal classics like "Crazy" and "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" bring back memories of Patsy Cline and vocal groups like The Ink Spots, plus the band pulls out a few instrumental numbers along the way.

This sounds like a golden oldies roundup, but Cow Bop: Too Hick for the Room is nothing like that. The band will be chugging along in typical form and then break away into some extended riffing, with solos that especially showcase the talents of fiddle player Phil Salazar and guitarist Bruce Forman. It's obvious that these two aren't limited in their scope of musical appreciation, and that they have a considerable amount of jazz, country, bluegrass, and probably three other genres at their disposal. The entire group rallies nicely around the original arrangements and manages to make old chestnuts like "Alabamy Bound" sound new and fresh. That's a minor miracle. Singer Pammy sounds full of life and enthusiasm, and has also obviously studied the performances of the great vocalists that performed these numbers. At the end of the day, Cow Bop: Too Hick for the Room is an original effort, a combination of some disparate styles that absolutely works. Jazz and country music can be packed neatly into the same room, one that Cow Bop proves can be enjoyed by hipsters and hicksters alike.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

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