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July 24, 2024

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James Richard Oliver
The Mud, The Blood, And The Beer (Illbilly Records)

By: Gary "Pig" Gold

Despite his relatively recent conversion into that damnable digital domain, Our Man JRO's music is as coated as ever in all manner of brilliantly cheesy, drum-machine 'n' Telecaster-driven commentary upon Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of, uh, Poon. Etc. So much so that a couple of tracks herein ("Someday Soon" and especially the George Jones-worthy "Get Better") could -- and Should -- be able to withstand the heavy treatment of even a character the likes of, dare I suggest it, Coyote Shivers!

While I give you all a moment or two now to ponder the ramifications of such a coupling, may I add that elsewhere on "The M, The B & The B" the artist duly presents just about the most apt interpretation of Texan rock since Bobby Fuller last left El Paso, whips out an instrumental funky enough for both Archie Bell AND his Drells, and even produces a cut or two I only wish and prey Rank & File were still around to sink their teeth into. But it's on "Every Little Thing," and most certainly the soon-classic "Runnin' With Scissors" (--"and actin' like a dick") that Mr. Oliver actually conjures the caliber of tight, taut and wholly cinematic-level lyrical (velvet) poem-paintings even Jerry Reed at his utmost ornerious would have a time-and-a-half wrapping his tongue around! Yep, they certainly don't write 'em like THIS anymore, do they?

Those two brilliant rap-a-billy cuts may indeed shine brightest and last longest, but this entire album is well worth keeping inside your Disc-o-man well into the next several centuries.15

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