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Cowboy's Inn

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Album Review

The Riptones pared back the frills from their retro-country/rockabilly fusion on their 1999 album Cowboy's Inn, doubtless due to the fact that the band had been stripped down to a trio (singer and guitarist Jeb Bonansinga, bassist Earl Carter, and drummer Kurt Weisend) from the five-piece edition which recorded their previous album. And the opening cut, "I Can't and I Won't," suggests that some pruning was just what the band needed; a hot-rodded bit of updated rockabilly with some hot guitar from briefly returning guitarist Andon T. Davis, "I Can't and I Won't" is one of the most exciting things the band has ever cut; and if the rest of the album never quite hits the same level of energy, the other tunes show that a simpler approach serves Bonansinga's songs quite well. "Hey You're Gonna Pay" and "Go Be and Do" reflect an admirably unclichéd approach to rockabilly, "Jack's Last Time" is an old-school cowboy ballad given a sharp modern twist, and "Big Timber" discovers the lost link between roots rock and surf music. Cowboy's Inn offers intelligent and muscular proof that the Riptones are one band who've been able to find a niche within the alt-country scene while creating an approach that's all their own, and it captures the group at their best.


Formed: 1990 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Melding rockabilly, retro-country, and blues styles into a rollicking dance-friendly cocktail, the Riptones are one of the more traditionally oriented bands on Chicago's wild-and-wooly alt-country scene. Led by guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jeb Bonansinga, the band formed in 1990, with Bonansinga joined by his brother Tod Bonansinga on vocals and rub board, Earl Carter on bass, Andon T. Davis on guitar, and Tom Harmon on drums. After several years of steady gigging around Chicago and building...
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Cowboy's Inn, The Riptones
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