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Dwight Yoakam - Live from Austin, TX Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 2007
format:    16-bit CD / Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD
performance:    8
sound:    9
release year:    2007
label:    New West
reviewed by:    K L Poore

ImageHoo whee Skeeter, fire up the ridin’ mower, run out to the still and grab hold of our biggest jug ‘cause we got hillbilly music!

What d’ya mean how do I know? It’s Dwight Yoakam playing on that Austin City Limits show on the teevee and let me tell you boy it’s the real deal … it’s hotter than the vinyl in a ‘64 Pontiac in August. Dwight Yoakam, you idgit. He’s that feller what sang that song with Buck Owens, may he rest in peace, “Streets of Bakersfield.” No, I don’t know where the hell it is either, but that don’t mean the song ain’t a classic. You know Dwight Yoakam, he had all those number one country albums and the greatest nasally voice you ever heard. “I Sang Dixie”? Yeah, that’s him, and it’s on this here Live From Austin TX show, too.

Well, what are you waitin’ for? What do you mean you don’t trust me ‘cause I just plain loved that jazzy Morph the Cat CD by that fella from New York City. Well, I’m what you call a man with di-verse tastes, and this here CD/DVD thing is nothing like that one. This one’s from 1988, back when country music was still country music, and it makes you want to honky tonk, Skeeter! You understand? Honky tonk! Still don’t believe me? Well, pull up a seat and write this down. Along with one of the world’s greatest country music singers you get: Pete Anderson, a guitar picker who makes all those other guitar boys seem like they’re just startin’ out, studded jeans so tight you wonder how the seams hold, embroidered jackets, turquoise, American Indian symbols and things, cowboy boots, the damndest frizzmullet you ever done seen on a fiddle player, and a smack back crack of a drummer who’s rolled up his sleeves and knows how to make your boots scoot. And when I talk about Dwight I’m talking about Dwight before he decided to go off and become one of the best actors you ever saw. Remember that movie where the feller split his head open with sling blade? That was a hoot. Yeah, I’m talking ‘bout Dwight when he was at the top of the charts. “Guitars, Cadillacs,” “Little Ways,” “Little Sister,” I love those songs. And it sounds like you’re right there in the damn room with them when they’re playing. It’s so clear I swear I can hear all the way up Dwight’s nose when he’s singing.

And did I tell you that Buck Owens, rest in peace, shows up to sing with him? Damn straight he does. Yep, “Streets of Bakersfield.” Skeeter, remember when Buck put up that billboard looking for his wife or something? Other than you he’s the only guy I ever heard of doing such a thing. I knew that’d get you going. Hey, that feller you like so much who plays that mean squeeze box is on this CD/DVD thing. Flaco somebody. Yeah, Flaco Jimenez, although I don’t think it’s pronounced the way you do it but yeah, that’s him. How can a damn accordion make you sad? I don’t know either, but he can do it.

So what do you say? Yeah, I thought you’d change your mind. Okay, you go get the jug while I call Becky and Lola and make us a couple of ham sandwiches. When they get here we’ll turn this rascal up to 11 and have ourselves a damn party, son. We got a shit load of shit kickin’ to do, and the time is now. And this is music to do it to, Skeeter, this is the music to do it to.

Live From Austin TX is a midnight clear, expertly mixed recording that
demonstrates just how great the marriage of TV and music can be. If MTV had the integrity, and/or taste, of Austin City Limits, it would still matter.

The 5.1 surround sound on the DVD is beautiful, and if it doesn’t seem quite as impressive as other ACL releases from New West it’s just because I’m getting spoiled. Like I said before, when they put “stunning 5.1 surround sound” on the box, they aren’t kidding.

I have to admit I find it a little disconcerting that Dwight’s voice is mixed into the rear speakers cause after a while I feel like I’m in his back pocket, but if that’s all I have to complain about you’ll know how good this release is. My warning, though: if you don’t enjoy this kind of barroom country music, even the incredible production, sound and playing on this release won’t change your mind. It might get you to kick up a little dust though.

Extra Features
As with other reviews of the ACL series my only complaint about the DVD is they should consider throwing a few extras onto each release. Song selection still doesn’t qualify as an extra feature in my book, and neither do liner notes. Maybe music charts, or interviews, or something. For an example of what extras on a music DVD should be, check out the Neil Young Live at Massey Hall release. It’s got a ton, and they’re all cool. Maybe something about Buck Owens, rest in peace.

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