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Charlie Robison
Step Right Up

by Samuel Barker
April 12, 2001

File Under: Alt. Country
rating: B
tracks

1. Right Man For The Job

2. The Preacher

3. I Want You Bad

4. Desperate Times

5. The Wedding Song

6. Sweet Inspiration

7. John O'reilly

8. Tonight

9. One In A Million

10. It Comes To Me Naturally

11. Rain

12. Life Of The Party

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  • Charlie Robison
  • You can almost hear the glass crashing as you pop in Charlie Robison's new album, Step Right Up. The glass you will hear when you place it in your CD player is Charlie breaking through to the promise land.

    Step Right Up, being Charlie's third album, is the final piece of his claim to country stardom. Life Of The Party should have been the one to get him over the top, but the stories of robbery and murder probably didn't sit to well with mainstream music folks. The subject matter really hasn't changed much, but the number of commercially accessable tracks on this album is much greater.

    Proof of this is seen in the success of the first single off the album, "I Want You Bad." This song is in heavy radio rotation and has reached number 3 on the CMT charts, so the good vibe is pouring in from everywhere.

    The album opens with "Right Man For The Job." This song is a good middle range opener, it's not too powerful, but it gets you pulled into the album easily. It's a nice way to begin the journey. "The Preacher" is the next song up. This song is one of the best songs on this album. It's got a good musical vibe, and some interesting lyrics. Something to enjoy.

    The third song on the album is the first single, "I Want You Bad." This song is a good commercially viable pop country song. It's one of the few songs on the album that wasn't written by Charlie Robison and it's not too hard to see the difference. It's a great song, but a little too nice to be something Charlie wrote.

    The first song about robbery is "Desperate Times" which appeared on Charlie's first album. This is a great song about a friend Charlie went to school with who grew up and robbed a bank in San Antonio to help his family get ahead. Wonderful story and a great song.

    "The Wedding Song" will be the next single off the album. It was written about a pair of high school sweethearts who get married despite losing their initial feelings for each other, but in the end make it through together. It's a duet with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. It's a really funny, realistic song. It will be sure to hit a chord with all young married couples. Charlie shows his home state musicians some respect with his cover of the Hollister's "Sweet Inspiration." This song was done dead on perfect. You got a great feel from the song just like you do with the original. It's a really great choice for a cover song.

    "John O'reilly" is a fun song about a young Irish immigrant fighting his way to some money, literally. It's got some great mandolin usage and full out Irish feel. A good showcase of the range of songwriting Charlie does. The album keeps going with a song written by Charlie and his brother Bruce entitled "One In A Million," Bruce also wrote "Tonight" on this album. "One In A Million" is a wonderfully fun track. It's a strange tale, but it's got a lot of twists.

    The album winds down with the ballad of the album. This doesn't mean a definition ballad, just a slow, winding, mellow song to calm the mood. "Rain" is a brilliant song. It's got a great laid back feel. The story is about how the town reacts to a rain storm and how "the rain on the roof sounds so pretty." The final song on the album is "Life Of The Party." This song is a tongue in cheek song that reads like a young girl's jump rope rhyme. Lots of double meanings in the words and a good tale of getting drunk and where it takes you. A great close to a great album.

    Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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