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Remembers the Alamo

Asleep At the Wheel

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Album Review

Is this really a concept album by Asleep at the Wheel? Sho' nuff, and yes it is. And why not? Ray Benson and company have already done a tribute to Bob Wills, so what could be more Texan than to do one of songs about and related to the Alamo? In his tribute to one of America's greatest mythological battles and a cornerstone of the modern Texas consciousness, Benson's research has paid off bigtime, in a wonderfully wrought, engaging, enlightening, and thoroughly delightful listening experience. Using traditional melodies ("Remember the Alamo"), old fiddle tunes ("Soldier's Joy"), and a mournful bugle call ("Deguello"), as well as nationalistic anthems ("Davy Crockett"), classic cowboy tunes ("Yellow Rose of Texas"), modernist hits (Bob Wills' "New San Antonio Rose" — you didn't think he was gonna leave Western swing completely out of the mix did you?), movie songs by Dimitri Tiomkin ("Green Leaves of Summer" and "Remember the Alamo" from the 1960 John Wayne flick of the same name), and tunes written for the project itself (such as Monte Warden's "Stout and High"), Benson has woven his own fabulist universe. In it, he humanizes the Alamo for the listener, gives it faces, feelings, context, and a new kind of endurance that is certainly romantic, but is also far more realistic than most historic accounts. Benson's sound world is one that crisscrosses time and space and employs many textures — one is the Tosca String Quartet's embellishment on three tunes — as well as his ready (corny) sense of humor (check the tune about Ozzy Osbourne's wacko trip to the relic and pissing on it). It's a fine recording and one that will wear exceedingly well in the band's catalog.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Paw Paw, WV

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Since the early '70s, Asleep at the Wheel have been the most important force in keeping the sound of Western swing alive. In reviving the freewheeling, eclectic sensibility of Western swing godfather Bob Wills, the Wheel have earned enthusiastic critical praise throughout their lengthy career; they have not only preserved classic sounds that had all but disappeared from country music, but have also been able to update the music, keeping it a living, breathing art form. Typically featuring eight to...
Full bio
Remembers the Alamo, Asleep At the Wheel
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