CD One Tough Town (CD 1159424), Audio Other
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One Tough Town

  • 1. Whistle Blow
    2. Sweet Poison
    3. Who's the Dummy Now?
    4. Little Mustang
    5. No Lies
    6. Oh Yeah (Dead Man's Shoes)
    7. Snake Song
    8. Panama City
    9. Sweet Potato
    10. See How the Mighty Have Fallen
    11. One Tough Town
    12. Postcard from Mexico
    13. Rainbow's End
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 00705

  • Credits
    ProducerDavid Olney; Jack Irwin; Jack Irwin; David Olney
    EngineerJack Irwin

    David Olney: Sergio Webb.
    Personnel: David Olney (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar, harp, ukulele, harmonica, trombone); David Olney; Bobby Daniels (vocals, background vocals); Sergio Webb (guitar, electric guitar); Dave Roe (bass instrument); Craig Wright (drums, percussion); Graig Wright (percussion); Richard Bailey (banjo); Jim Hoke (clarinet, saxophone); Bill Huber (trombone, tuba); Jack Irwin (piano, electric piano, Clavinet, organ).
    Audio Mixer: Jack Irwin.
    Photographer: John Halpern.
    Musically, David Olney's album One Tough Town travels backward in time. By the second track, "Sweet Poison," he has reached the rockabilly of the 1950s; by the end, on "Rainbow's End," he sounds like he's trying to re-create the hit parade of the 1920s. Especially on recent albums, Olney has investigated more basic musical styles, sometimes by employing unusual instrumentation. Here, he and co-producer Jack Irwin have brought in a banjo player (Richard Bailey), while Olney sometimes plucks a ukulele, and there are horns including clarinet, saxophone, trombone, and even tuba. Previously, with his gruff voice and gutbucket arrangements, Olney has recalled the later Tom Waits; on One Tough Town, that comparison remains valid, although one also should mention Leon Redbone as a model. In his songwriting, Olney continues to delight in imaginative explorations of historical and invented characters and situations. "Who's the Dummy Now?" is sung in the voice of a ventriloquist's dummy, who is reading the riot act to the ventriloquist, to the point of berating his romantic technique with a date (that's what you get when you don't move your lips). The title song, a sort of religious/science fiction fantasy, is sung in the voice of Jesus Christ as if Christ were a cosmic comedian touring the universe who had come to Earth to play a few shows and gotten crucified for his trouble; now he is warning a fellow entertainer to stay away because the planet is "one tough town." How does a songwriter even get an idea like that? It's a question a listener may ask more than once listening to a David Olney album, and this is another good one. ~ William Ruhlmann

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