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David Ball

AMIGO (Dualtone) • David Ball

I was feeling kind of blue when I put this record on, and the clouds just rolled away. Listening to David Ball's voice is a perfect pleasure. Nothing overdone, he sells every song honestly, believably. It's a piece of Texas dance hall heaven.

A fantastic single from this independent album is climbing the charts at this writing called "Riding with Private Malone." Some cynics might call it a formula country ghost song, but that hasn't stopped me from breaking down every time I listen to it, so I guess I wouldn't agree with that. It was cowritten by the producer Wood Newton and Thom Shepherd, and it's a real American gem.

There's a half dozen Texas Swing numbers with a hot band and a singer who's a master of the genre. Ball does some great yodeling in "Texas Echo," and twin fiddles on the ballad "Just Out of Reach" and the title swing tune remind me of the Country music I first fell in love with. It's still out there, on smaller great labels like Dualtone, Hightone, and others.

I really enjoy "She Always Talked About Mexico" and "Loser Friendly," both cowritten by producer Wood Newton. Ball is an excellent songwriter himself and is on eight of the songs, solo or with great cowriters like Kostas, Allen Shamblin, and Luke Reed. Chris Carmichael and Joe Spivey shine on fiddle, as does Steve Larios on Hawaiian Steel Guitar and Chromatic Harmonica, a double specialty I've never seen before.

David Ball is a singer's singer, and he's been around. In the 70s he was one of the legendary trio Uncle Walt's Band, which included Champ Hood and the late beloved Walter Hyatt. Lyle Lovett used to open for the trio when he was coming up in Texas. Ball had a gold record for Warner Bros. in the late 90s, "Thinkin' Problem." All lovers of real Country music should celebrate by picking up this disc. Let's keep it rolling, and keep it Country.  • FG

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