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on 6 July 2005
Following on from the quite exceptional Houston Kid and Fate's Right Hand CDs (and the excellent Notorious Cherry Bombs CD) Rodney Crowell's new album falls just short of meriting 5 stars.Maybe it was deliberate but oddly enough the running order of the CD sees perhaps all the weaker tracks gathered together at the start.Opening with 2 country rocking songs "Say You Love Me" and " The Obscenity Prayer" the tempo becomes heavier with the title track.Track 4 "Dancin' Circles Round The Sun" is again a fastuptempo number that will have your feet and fingers tapping.Things change dramatically with the next track "Beautiful Despair" which both musically and lyrically is superb.Slower paced and with some wonderful lyrics (that Dylan reference!) this is as good as anything Crowell has done."Don't Get Me Started" up next is a great diatribe of maybe the ordinary working man's view of current political events which many will share."Ignorance Is The Enemy" follows and contains spoken sections by both Emmylou Harris and John Prine.It works well reinforcing the almost gospel feel and sentiment implicit in the song."Glasgow Girl" is up next and a real delight for UK fans.To hear Rodney Crowell make reference to so many UK locations in a song makes it so real.A great story song of a girl from Glasgow that maybe Crowell met sometime it has an infectious chorus which will have you singing along with."Things That Go Bump In The Day" up next is another typically catchy song that contains an equally infectious chorus."Shelter From The Storm" one of Dylan's many masterpieces follows.Many have covered this but this has to be one of the very best efforts.Emmylou Harris and Crowell sing beautifully together and I'd love to see this performed live.The CD finishes with "We Can't Turn Back Now" and a great song it is.With it's tin whistle and flute instrumentation it has irish overtones in parts musically.Lyrically there's a lot there to take in and think about concerning the state of the world but it's ultimately an upbeat message - if we start getting it right.
Performance,production and sound are all excellent throughout.
If you're new to Rodney Crowell I'd still suggest you start with either of the aforementioned preceding albums but make no mistake "The Outsider" is a fine addition to the lenghty and excellent Rodney Crowell catalogue and long time fans will treasure it with the rest and wear it out with repeat play.
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on 30 June 2005
This one hasn't been released yet in the USA, so we are in a way priviliged. For all who know the work of Rodney Crowell, this will be an inevitable item for their collection. He is always labelled as alternative country (whatever that means), but this is so much more. From fine duets with several well-known people (John Prine, Emmylou Harris) to uptempo, almost punkrock like songs with a lot of political and social content. And he knows how to write a lyric. 'Ignorance is the enemy' is a kind of song George Bush won't like. But also songs like 'The obscenity prayer', 'The outsider' and 'Beautiful despair' will grow on when listening more often. And the album closes with 'We can turn back'. Right again.
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on 7 March 2008
The Outsider roars out of the traps with a riffing, rocking one-two punch: the hard partying 'Say you love me' and 'The Obscenity Prayer', an anthem to greed - "Give it to me, give it to me right now". Title track, 'The Outsider' follows, and suffers from the comparison, but neatly illustrates the problems of the rest of the album. Crowell is a capable and occasionally great songwriter, but too many songs here, while lyrically inventive are saddled with mundane settings. Others are, at least to these European ears, just plain dreadful, especially the mawkish 'Ignorance is the enemy' a worryingly close cousin of 'The Desiderata': how did so many great performers get roped in to this?

The whole album is deep in the shadows of 9/11, Iraq and the so called war on terror, and Crowell's lyrical concerns step far outside the usual territory for country music, even name checking and quoting a first century Stoic philosopher. Unfortunately the songs often come over as whining, worthy or just dull.

On 'Beautiful despair', Crowell sings: "Beautiful despair is hearing Dylan when you're drunk at 3am, Knowing that the chances are no matter what, You'll never write like him". Crowell then goes on to cover 'Shelter from the storm' and even with the support of former boss, and Dylan alumnus, the peerless Emmylou Harris, the performance is such that it's hard to argue.
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on 5 September 2005
The last line of my review has a bad mistake in it. The last line should have been "We can't turn back now". I took "The Houston kid", "Fate's right hand" and "The outsider" with me on holiday to Greece and I must say to those of you who don't have these CD's: buy them. This is vital, honest and sometimes very explicit musicmaking. Perhaps a bit too explicit for US standards, because he is likely to be accused of being "unpatriotic". Don't let that stop you, because what he sings is truly felt. Straight-from-the-heart-music.
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on 5 July 2005
Always been a fan. "Blame it on the Moon" right up there on my favotites ever list. Started listening and thought this could do for RC what "Copperhead Road" did for Steve Earle, but then it seems to loose momentum. Still good though - Buy It!!!
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on 4 March 2015
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on 22 December 2014
Ok but hears better from him
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on 27 May 2015
love it
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