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Album Review

One of Ray Benson's great strengths as bandleader of Western swing stalwarts Asleep at the Wheel is his willingness to cede the spotlight to others when appropriate; his band's previous album with Willie Nelson was a match made in Texas music heaven, in part for that reason, and this is another one. Here Benson and the band are backing up singer Leon Rausch, former vocalist for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys; Rausch and Benson trade turns on lead vocals with the very fine Elizabeth McQueen, and perform such standard fare as "Basin Street Blues" and the Wills composition "Osage Stomp," along with such nicely chosen adaptations as the Peggy Lee song "It's a Good Day" and "Truck Driver's Blues" (on which Willie Nelson makes a surprise appearance alongside Rausch). Asleep at the Wheel is a professional band in absolutely the best sense of the word: their ensemble sense is watertight but their swing is confident and relaxed; their arrangements are period-appropriate but never stodgy; and they always sound like they're having the time of their lives. Even material as tired as "Get Your Kicks (On Route 66)," which has become the band's theme song, sounds like a breath of fresh air when this band is playing and singing it. But Rausch himself is the centerpiece on this album, and he makes the most of it: his voice may have aged some in the decades since he sang with Wills, but it's lost none of its elegantly swinging expressiveness and the band knows how to showcase it perfectly.

Customer Reviews

True American music!

Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel have been keeping the Western Swing tradition alive for 40 years. Now bringing the still fresh and talented 82 year old Texas Playboy Leon Rausch into this production is genius! This is awesome music to start with, but played and sung by the cream of the crop is beyond wonderful. This music keeps your toes tapping and your heart happy. Don't waste any time adding this amazing album of pure Americana to your collection!

Americana Masterminds!!!

Asleep at the Wheel and Leon Rausch will not leave you disappointed! One of the best albums i have heard all year. I have loved these guys for forever and they never let me down! Kudos gentlemen!

Its a good day

Fantastic music! I recently discovered Asleep at the Wheel on my satelite radio. I love the bluesy, Texas, Bob-Wills sounds on this album. Thanks for bringing back some really good music by putting a refreshing modern twist on it!


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

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