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Dale Watson
Whiskey Or God
Palo Duro Records

It was shocking news when I first heard that Dale Watson was, in effect, retiring from playing. Deciding to focus on raising his girls and having some sort of home life is quite a change from the traveling, honky-tonk lifestyle the man's been leading for so long… but all for good reason. So with his latest release Whiskey Or God Watson is giving long time fans a collection of some previously unrecorded/ often requested songs along with a few new tunes. The only disconcerting thing is that this could be the last new music we hear from Watson for quite some time.

The songs on Whiskey Or God are all a bit on the honky-tonkin' side of things, whether they be gospel tinged slower tracks with just the right amount of twang ("Whiskey Or God") or full-on barn burners ("Outta Luck"). There's slow love-song ballads ("My Heart Is Yours") and a whole lot of fine Western swing to be found on this record ("I Don't Feel Too Lucky Today" and "38…21…34"). Texas country mixes with a bit of south of the border flavored horns ("Tequila And Teardrops") while Watson turns out some of his finest truck driving songs in years ("No Help Wanted"). The spirit of Jerry Reid's finest hours lives on in the amazingly boingy "Truckin' Queen (I Got My Nightgown On…)" where Watson not only growls like Reid, but twangs out some fine baritone-style riffs on the Telecaster and breaks it down just right for a blistering pedal steel solo courtesy of Don Don Pawlak. Watson's Lone Stars on this record also include the ultra talented (and super nice guy) Herb Belofsky on drums, Don Raby on fiddle, and the infamous Gene Kurtz on bass.

This set of songs from one of the last real country music singers is a long overdue and welcome treat to the ears. Those who are familiar with Dale Watson's work will find this an essential addition to their collection, while those that are not yet familiar with Watson but are interested in what real country sounds like should definitely pick up a copy. Now, as long as this isn't the last we hear from the silver-haired rockabilly king, all will be well.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Sit And Drink And Cry
2. Whiskey Or God
3. I Don't Feel Too Lucky Today
4. No Help Wanted
5. My Heart Is Yours
6. It Hurts So Good
7. Truckin' Queen (I Got My Night Gown On...)
8. Darlin' Look At Me Now
9. I Wish I Was Crazy Again
10. I Ain't Been Right, Since I've Been Left
11. Tequila And Teardrops
12. 38..21..34
13. Outta Luck
14. Heeah!!

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