Sunday, May 17, 2009

Winter's End

The 1993 album Ricks Road by the Scottish band Texas is the collection that is most influenced by American music. The entire album is about as Country as they get and is full of good old down home Blues, or at least a European interpretation of what American Blues sounds like. Most of the tracks sound heartfelt and like most gospel tunes have pleas to a higher power for salvation and succor. Lead vocal Sharleen Spiteri doesn't really reach too far or work to hard in this production and saves the wild talent and passion for only a select few tracks.

While a few of the tunes would easily be accepted during a church service the track Fearing These Days would not be out of place as background music for a politician on the campaign trail. The breakout track from Ricks Road is the song So-Called Friend, familiar perhaps to most Americans as the theme song to the 1994-1998 Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen. Amusingly, Sharleen Spiteri's usually non-existent brogue momentarily sneaks into the song Fearing These Days and it is noteworthy because she typically speaks and sings in English with no discernible accent (at least to American ears). It was just humorous to notice because for a second it made me think of Groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons.

Ricks Road was not their most well-received album and admittedly there are a few creative missteps that as a fan I can overlook far easier than a professional critic is willing to do. Often the band explores certain musical styles and with White On Blonde and The Hush it worked to great effect. But with Ricks Road it appears that the band is still trying to find a direction beyond trying too hard to garner a hit by sounding like any number of other contemporary pop bands of the time. Still, I generally enjoy most of the tunes on any given Texas album and Ricks Road is no exception.

As usual there are not many Region 1 videos of the band available so I cobbled this one together featuring Winter's End, a nice little Bluesy-pop tune. Enjoy.

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