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CD Reviews: Review of Dwight's Used Records by Dwight Yoakam
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Dwight Yoakam: Dwight's Used Records (2004)

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Dwight Yoakam has a sound that no one has duplicated. During a time when the industry keeps tossing velvet voiced pretty boys into the mix, Dwight stands out as, well, neither. His signature twangy delivery will always set him apart from the rest of the pack.

Dwight’s Used Records is a collection of songs that he contributed to other people’s albums, compilations and a few covers that never made an album. There’s nothing new here. Because of that, you don’t get the “groove” of a normally recorded CD. Some may like it; I’m not crazy about it. Overall, the only connecting thread through this project is Dwight’s voice.

“Stop the World and Let Me Off” is classic Dwight, and one of the best tracks on the disc. He goes bluegrass with “Down Where the River Bends,” a song that sounds like it belongs on an AM radio station. His version of “Mercury Blues” is quite a bit more rock-a-billy than anything Alan Jackson has ever recorded. He joins with Deana Carter on the ballad “Waiting,” an interesting blend of voices, gets back to the roots of country with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on “Some Dark Holler,” and seems to channel Hank Williams on “If I Were You.”

Then it gets weird. “Loco Motion” is, well out there. I’m not sure who decided he should do this song, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that person isn’t making those kinds of decisions anymore. Yoakam covers the old ZZ Top tune “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” and definitely makes it his own, but I’m not sure that the twang works with this one. His version of John Prine’s “Paradise” brings out the wrenching emotions that country is known for, and then he wraps it all up with “I Said (Paradise Reprise),” another example of his vocal strength.

So here’s the deal…if you like a really twangy country sound, live for interesting bluegrass recordings or just love Dwight, you will probably enjoy this. But the bottom line is, Dwight’s Used Records is nothing new, nothing terribly interesting and will not go down as one of his better projects. That said, if you just have to have something from Dwight Yoakam, you probably won’t be disappointed. Otherwise, leave it alone. 

~Joe Griffin




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