John Boy & Billy

The night this review CD arrived, Terry Baucom’s Dukes of Drive appeared on the TV show Song Of The Mountains. The contrast was striking. While the performance of Baucom, mandolinist/vocalist Joey Lemons, guitarist/vocalist Will Jones, and bassist Joe Hannabach exhibited a strong sense of pulse and drive and cohesion, the choice of songs did not offer much attraction.

How different this recording. There are a couple of tunes that don’t quite make it, but by the time you get to them, a little over half way into the recording, the quality of the other songs will have been obvious. Paula Breedlove and Brad Davis’ title tune opens the ten-song set with an appropriate roar. No gentle easing in here. Baucom’s banjo attacks with force, as we’ve come to expect, and Lemons uses his lead to propel the song forward. There are better openers, but not by much. That’s followed by the Osborne Brothers’ song “Charlie Cotton,” a perky tune that belies the rather harsh tale that the song tells. Baucom and company give it a captivating bounce. “Carolina Any Day,” the first of two Milan Miller songs is next, followed a song later by a contemporary sounding murder ballad, “Mary’s Rock.” Will Jones takes the lead vocals on the latter. For a song with such a tragic story, there are several catchy lines that are almost humorous. Three hours up, but only three seconds down… is one of them. Still, it’s a vivid tale and Jones does a good job with it.

In the next four tunes are a lively gospel number, “What Will They Say About You,” and two tunes that have had some chart action, “The Rock” and “Around The Corner.” Skill is important. Presentation is important. Good songs are a bit more so. This release has all three. (John Boy & Billy, Inc., P.O. Box 876, Burlington, NC 27116 www.terrybaucom.com.)BW

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