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4.5 out of 5 stars
72
Taking The Long Way
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VINE VOICEon 25 May 2006
I ADORE the Dixie Chicks for several reasons. Firstly, in a world of manufactured pop they are real, genuine and talented. Secondly, they have backbone. So what Natalie made derogatory remarks about the President?! Whoopee doo. She's entitled to that opinion AND I think it's ridiculous that the far right Conservatives in La La Land are refusing to listen to the Chicks albums because of those remarks. Erm... Hello? You don't have to AGREE with what she said, but we're judging their MUSIC not their political beliefs. It's cost them a lot of fans, BUT the fact that she still stand by what she said shows she has the courage of her conviction.

Anyhow, rant over. This album is amazing. I didn't think it was possible for them to better "Home" because that truly is a fabulous album BUT I think they have managed it, in a different way. "Taking The Long Way" is a deeply personal, autobiogrpahical album. Tracks such as "Not Ready To Make Nice" in response to the backlash Natalie received after criticising Dubya make me want to stand up and clap for her. She sings that with conviction and passion, and for that I applaud her.

It is a DIFFERENT album than their previous efforts (and successes). It's far more polished, and that's not a bad thing; they don't lost any of their rawness or passion. However, it's also much more vulnerable. I adore "I Hope" which is a very sweet song. I also like "Bitter End" and the very beautiful "Lullaby". The title track "The Long Way Around" has number 1 written all over it.

I sincerely hope that this album is a success for the Chicks, and that the American's see them for what they are despite their political stance; a very talented group who continue to produce listenable, real albums. Dixie Chicks, I salute you!
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on 4 December 2006
`Taking the long way' is the 4th album from the amazing Dixie Chicks.

When I first brought this cd I wasn't all that impressed. Having loved the other stuff from the chicks I thought that they had made a poor album here. Thing is you need to listen to it a good few times before the beauty grabs you.

I've had this cd for a few months now and think it is fantastic.

Songs like:

Easy silence

Not ready to make nice

Voice inside my head

I like it

(and many more)

They are truly great, well written songs. And these songs really mean a lot to the chicks as they have had a few bad years after a comment was made about G.W.Bush.

Brilliant, just wait for it to grab you by the balls (if you're a guy that is).
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on 22 June 2006
AFTER THREE FLAWLESS COUNTRY ALBUMS THE CHICKS HAVE MOVED TOWARDS THE POP MAINSTREAM AND BOY HAS IT WORKED. THIS IS THE FINEST OFFERING FROM A GROUP AT THE VERY TOP OF THEIR FORM . THERE IS NOT A WEAK TRACK AMONGST THEM. STAND OUT TRACKS ARE THE SUBLIME 'FAVOURITE YEAR' AND 'VOICE INSIDE MY HEAD'BUY IT!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 June 2006
I have to say, country music leaves me cold. I bought this album to support the Dixie Chicks and the concept of freedom of speech. I was utterly horrified by the reaction which greeted Natalie's anti-Bush comments in 2003. Blacklisted from radio stations, public burnings of their CDs, death threats... it was like Nazi Germany reborn in the USA. So I bought this CD as a political gesture; I thought I would listen to it once, but was sure I wouldn't like the music.

Well, I got a very pleasant surprise, because this is actually a terrific album. Mature, heartfelt lyrics and irresistible hooks are the order of the day, and it sounds nothing like my idea of country music (which is probably due to my ignorance) but a straightforward pop/rock album with perhaps a few country influences. I notice Dan Wilson of Semisonic is co-writer on a number of the best tracks, and if, like me, you were a fan of Semisonic, I think you will recognise his touch here. So forget your preconceptions about country music and give it a try.

Finally, let's all be thankful we live in a country where artists can express their opinions without fear of blacklisting and other terrible reprisals.
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on 24 May 2006
have not yet been able to go a full day without playing it at least once - it was a long time coming, but well worth the wait. It has vibes of Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac which I guess is them carrying on from Landslide in Home. Its certainly beautiful and Natalie's vocals are haunting. Listening to this certainly beats revising for exams! Ones to particularly look out for are 'Everybody knows', 'Silent House', 'Taking the Long Way' and of course 'Not Ready to Make Nice' which is just a brilliant way to hit back at all those critics! As with most of the Chick's albums, this one sees a different sound, but as you'd expect it's well executed and really enjoyable.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 August 2006
Musically, this is an excellent follow-up to 2002's Home. But it is also the album immediately following the furore stirred up by Natalie Maines's comments denigrating President Bush, and that makes it a slightly more important release than would be usual. That it has been phenomenally successful is likely a reflection that the hysteria only afflicted a small proportion of the US population, and that as usual the televised minority was mistakenly taken to be representative of the whole.

That the Chicks are angry with that minority is in plenty of evidence in the lyrics of songs like The Long Way Round, Not Ready to Make Nice, and Lubbock Or Leave It. This last song emphasises the message via the threatening tones of the instruments, which grumble, growl and spit with vehemence: it sounds like Emily Robison is going to pluck the strings clean off her banjo, and Martie Maguire is going to saw straight through the fiddle with her bow.

But in amongst all the anger is an endearing naivety: the Chicks seem genuinely shocked not just by the nastiness of the world, but that any of it should be directed at them personally. "Why me?" they seem to be asking.

Although the album as a whole is a shade darker than its predecessors, however, it's not totally obsessed with the CD crushers, and one of the tracks - I Like It - is almost upbeat. But there is no mattress dancing, and none of the humour (albeit of the graveyard variety) of Goodbye Earl.

A couple of the tracks, Silent House and Voice Inside My Head, glance back to A Home from the last album, but if anything there is even more regret, underlined by Martie's weeping strings on Silent House and the plaintive steel guitar on Voice Inside My Head.

Bitter End is a country waltz, but the title gives a clue to the mood. Lullaby, on the other hand, is a soft affirmation of love reminiscent of Godspeed on Home.

There are also times when non-country influences come to the fore: check out the riff on I Like It and compare with Martha and the Vandellas' Nowhere to Run; and listen to Natalie morph into Aretha on the gospel-tinged I Hope - that could easily be Billy Preston on organ and BB King on guitar.

So, the Dixie Chicks survived the forces of conservatism and came back with a suitable retaliatory blow, not by expanding on the Bush bashing, but by simply doing what they do best, making a really enjoyable, and successful, record. Boy, that smarts!
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on 11 March 2007
Fell upon thse chicks during a holiday in the states which coincided with Country Idol and fell in love with the title track Long Way Round. Bought the album when I came home and was thrilled with it. To my mind they're not typically 'country', most of the tracks have quite a rocky edge to them and combined with powerful vocals and a good look, I'd say they'd fit into country, pop and rock. Best tracks for me are Long Way Round, Not Ready to Make Nice, Lullaby, Silent House, Voice inside my Head and Favourite Year. In fact the only track I skip is I Hope, bit too gospel for me. Great album for driving. Love country, love passion, love women with opinions - you'll love the chicks!
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on 21 June 2006
Like many Chicks fans I suspect, I was a little apprehensive about how the problems of 2003 would affect the next album, but having heard the first 4 bars of the title track, my fears were allayed. This is a deeply autobiographical album where the girls have taken all the resentment of 2003 and turned it into some fabulous music. These are not just pop songs but stories with individual lyrics that have been translated into music with great effect. Natalie's voice has matured and softened but is still so distinctive and the girls harmonies are as unique and complementary as always. The production is different from previous albums but is equally effective and perhaps benefits from the change of location and personnel. There are 14 tracks and I consider at least 11 of them to be outstanding which is a high % in my book and this album is best appreciated by sitting with the lyrics and trying to visualise what the girls are trying to convey with each track.. For those Chicks fans I say go and get this- you cannot fail to be impressed. For any non-Chicks fans who like their music with some substance but still a great example of this genre of music I say buy it now- you will not be disappointed either.
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on 14 June 2006
What a fantastic album! I have listened to it at least twice every day and constantly have the songs in my head. I have always been a fan of the Chicks but found that I only liked 3 or 4 songs from their albums as I do not generally like country music (can find it a bit cheesey). However, every song on this album is fantastic. Their sound is now more mature and more rock than country but still has "southern" hints due to the use of instruments. Natalie's singing has never been better. I highly recommend the album.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2006
I'm not a country fan so wouldn't normally listen to Dixie Chicks but heard tracks from this album on the Bob Harris show on Radio 2 while on a long drive home and bought it on impulse. And I love it. I have been playing it in my car every day for a month and haven't got tired of it. The lyrics have meaning and improve with familiarity. The harmonies are superb and the whole album has heart and commitment to it. It isn't founded on empty recycled cliches. Probably not one for country purists as the style speaks of influences from many directions but if you are open minded, and like music which means something to the musicians, this is an album for you. This album ( & Bob Harris) have got me listening to and buying other country artists. Thanks for broadening my mind Bob!
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