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A Bigger Piece Of Sky

Robert Earl KeenAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, 1993 --  
Audio Cassette, 1993 --  

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A Bigger Piece Of Sky + Gringo Honeymoon + West Textures
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • ASIN: B000000EWR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,627 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. So I Can Take My Rest
2. Whenever Kindness Fails
3. Amarillo Highway
4. Night Right For Love
5. Jesse With The Long Hair...
6. Blow You Away
7. Here In Arkansas
8. Daddy Had A Buick
9. Corpus Christi Bay
10. Crazy Cowboy Dream
11. Paint The Town Beige
12. Bonus Track 1

Editorial Reviews

Robert Earl Keen is the Sam Peckinpah of the singer-songwriter movement. Almost alone in a field dominated by "sensitive" types, Keen is willing to write songs about America's--especially his native Texas'--obsession with guns and violence. Although he is often pigeonholed (and not without reason) as a comic songwriter, guns are all over his fourth album, A Bigger Piece of the Sky. Keen is not a great singer (he sounds like Jerry Jeff Walker with a cold), but he is one of the best lyricists in a state crawling with them.

Keen's "Jesse with the Long Hair...," for example, is a Peckinpah movie condensed to three succinct verses. It stars wanted-man Jesse, his ambivalent girl friend Luann, his old pal Sheriff Paul and the corrupt banker Mr. Brown; you may have to listen several times to figure out what happens when all four pull out their guns. "Blow You Away" is a more modern tale of paranoia; each verse describes an everyday scene (stopping at a gas station, cashing a check at the bank) that could suddenly erupt into violence. The violence never comes--and the song, appropriately enough, doesn't have a chorus--but Keen's voice and Marty Stuart's mandolin keep increasing the tension.

The album also includes a lovely romantic duet with Maura O'Connell and ends with three fine songs about a Corpus Christi drunk, a rodeo rider and a desperado turned fisherman, all growing old gracefully. Nonetheless the highlights include "Here in Arkansas," the complaint of a recently murdered man rendered ghostly by George Marinelli's slide guitar, and "Whenever Kindness Fails," an explanation of why the singer uses his gun to teach simple courtesy. Joe Ely covered the latter song on his last album, and if Keen can't hope to match Ely's vocal, at least he can surround the song with others of the same strange sensibility. --Geoffrey Himes

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taco Thoughts February 10, 2002
By Taco
Format:Audio CD
Arguably my favorite Keen disc, from back in the days when you could actually go to an REK show and hear him sing his songs himself. It's discs like this one that have made that impossible - now it's hard to hear Keen's voice over the crowd's singing. Both the crowd and Keen sing a little flat, and maybe a little off-key at times ... the best thing is that his unique voice only makes his songs better. Each track on this disc is listenable ... with more than half of them being superb Keen songs. "Whenever Kindness Fails" is the best this album offers, for me; its theme hits home ... one of those songs that makes you feel like an artist wrote it for you. "Amarillo Highway" is a great take on the Terry Allen original, revved up and stomping when REK sings it. The tale of long-haired Jesse is a classic Keen story, even better than "The Road Goes On Forever" (that surpasses it only in popularity). Of course, "Corpus Christi Bay" is on this disc ... along with "Crazy Cowboy Dream" and "Paint the Town Beige." Some Keen discs may have bigger hits. Some Keen discs may be less eclectic, more consumer-oriented. But this disc has more quality REK material than any of his others. This disc is a must-have for any quality music junkie. Buy it ... you'll see.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than cold beer on hazy hot day May 25, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
this album definately deserves a look see, it is a bit subtler than keen's other albums, it has some slower songs, some craftier songs, the type of songs that keen gets noticed for above his voice. (one time i had this cd playing in the truck and my mom said "whoever this is, he almost cant sing") he is a master song writer who can weave a story with vibrant imagry and charecters who you just might know. favorite songs: jesse with the long hair, corpus christi bay, so i can take my rest, paint the town beige, well hell, all of them... this album for me invokes a feeling. its a good feeling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible July 16, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I think that Robert Earl Keen is no doubt one of if not the greatest songwriters in Texas and the album perfectly proves that to be true. The guy is completely down to earth in his descriptions of real-life activity. This one's highly recommendable, and so are the rest of his albums. I got em all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keen At His Best September 27, 2003
Format:Audio CD
This is without doubt my favorite REK cd. Every song on the album is masterfully written and Keen's ability to tell a story is phenomenal. True to Keen's form, Bigger Piece of Sky's songs are filled with colorful characters yet boast a complexity rarely seen in modern country. Whenever Kindness Fails and Here in Arkansas are especially gripping. If you are unfamiliar with the artist and wish to hear him at his best, look no further - Bigger Piece of Sky is as good as it gets.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Keen's One of America's true greats July 12, 1999
Format:Audio CD
A relitivly unknown to America's Pop Crazy music scene, Robert Keen is a hidden treasure you can't pass-by. When I finally got one of his Cd's, His second live album, I fell in love and I kicked my self for not finding this guy sooner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, still one of his best. September 23, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Robert Earl Keen is perhaps one of the best of an elite group of Texas singer/song writers and undoubtedly my favorite. On top of that he's an Aggie. Bigger Piece of Sky is my favorite of his earlier CDs.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling Supreme February 13, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Keen's storytelling is strongest on "A Bigger Piece of Sky," with a wealth of compelling characters and a grittier feel than his other releases.
"Jesse With the Long Hair.." is a longtime concert favorite, "Here in Arkansas" a darkly apocalyptic tale, and "Blow You Away" a perfect hymn for modern rage, road and otherwise. "Amarillo Highway" is the Pearl Beer version, predating Robert Earl's Shiner Bock affiliation, "Corpus Christi Bay" one of the best hell-with-it songs, "Daddy Had a Buick" is a rather jazzy track, and "Paint the Town Beige" a sad-but-true ode to the not-as-young-as-they-used-to-be set [I'm a new member...].
With the exception of a few tracks, "Corpus," "Amarillo," and "Jesse," this isn't your average beer-swilling accompaniment. Unless you were feeling edgy to begin with. However, if you're feeling lonesome and a bit dangerous, let Robert Earl be your guide with "A Bigger Piece of Sky."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can you wear grooves with a laser? November 15, 2009
Format:Audio CD
Of all of Mr. Keen's excellent albums, this is the one where I listen to every single song every single time. A great example of his early style. To me the whole album has kind of a sparse, dusty western flavor to it, even more strongly than any of his other work. Still, within that western sound this album has a nice variety of different songs from fun character songs to story songs to some swing to a bleak nightmare. After many, many listenings I still enjoy every single song on the disc. That's one of REK's greatest strengths - his songs generally seem to get better with repeated listenings.
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