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Balls

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Audio CD, May 1, 2007
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$10.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

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Elizabeth Cook's cornbread-and-cracklings approach to modern country music isn't everybody's cup of homebrew. But her backwoods lineage is genuine: her daddy learned to play doghouse bass in a Georgia prison band, doing 11 years for running moonshine. And there are plucky moments--especially on "Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman," where she sounds like she could be the Coal Miner's Daughter's feminist grandkid. On this, Cook's fourth album, producer Rodney Crowell knows how to frame her as both authentic and hip, bringing alt-country prince Bobby Bare Jr. on board for the affecting mountain love song "Rest Your Weary Mind," and elsewhere imbuing her original shuffles and ballads with chickin'-pickin' guitars, languid fiddle solos, and even a jew's harp on the hoedown-ish "Times Are Tough in Rock 'n' Roll" ("All my feelings, all my fears/Were confirmed with Britney Spears.") There's a surprise around every corner--"He Got No Heart" is a sassy throwback to Wanda Jackson, while "Mama's Prayers" evokes the threadbare innocence of Iris DeMent, and "What Do I Do" finds Cook's twangy soprano leaping into the honky-tonk stratosphere. But get ready for her cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning," which she dang near makes her own. Then again, that's something you might expect from a girl with an affinity for vintage cocktail dresses who still insists on baiting her own hook. -–Alanna Nash

1. Times Are Tough In Rock N' Roll
2. Don't Go Borrowin' Trouble
3. Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman
4. Rest Your Weary Mind
5. He Got No Heart
6. Mama's Prayers
7. Sunday Morning
8. What Do I Do
9. Down Girl
10. Gonna Be
11. Always Tomorrow

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 1, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thirty One Tigers
  • ASIN: B000OCZ9P0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,045 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T. Spaulding on May 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
"Balls" is Cook's finest record to date. Following the excellent "This Side Of The Moon" with a collection of up-tempo shuffles, wry observances and heartfelt ballads, "Balls" delivers on all fronts. No need for EC to skim the surface of her rural upbringing by talking about "muddin'" and "hick towns" and all of the transparent Music Row nonsense that passes for Country music these days. Cook is the genuine article, and her songs ring simple and true.

"Rest Your Weary Mind" is a meditation on helping her man decompress after a hard day of Life. Sung as a duet with Bobby Bare, Jr., Cook's refrains provide soothing balm to Bare's laments. Conway and Loretta never did it any better.

"Down Girl" is a snaphot of a melancholy friend's marital woes, and the stark production and quiet mood give it a lullaby feel. Beautiful.

"Gonna Be" and "Times Are Tough In Rock and Roll" are clever, light-hearted romps through the pleasures and pains of being on "the ladder", but only a rung or two up, detailing life on the road and at home for an indie artist.

"Momma's Prayers" reveals a sentiment Hallmark only wishes they could put into words.

Backed by roots rock guitar ace (and husband) Tim Carroll and the cream of Nashville's roots session players including guitar masters Kenny Vaughan and Richard Bennett, Cook's vocals are sure and plaintive, sassy and seductive. Producer Rodney Crowel kept a light touch on the proceedings, allowing the songs and the players to meet at the point of "just enough" - nothing here sounds like a demo or a New Country polished cliche.

This kind of real music is out there, despite the major labels best efforts to ignore it (see "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?"). If you are just getting hip to EC, check out all of her albums.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. D. from Texas on May 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
What an unbelievable follow up to her last album, "This Side of the Moon".

I, for one, thought it would be very difficult for this super-talented singer/songwriter to ever top it; not because I doubted her ability or creativity.........just because that record was so damn good. I couldn't have been more wrong. "Balls" is like Godfather II or Spiderman II: much better than the original.

Give some credit to producer Rodney Crowell, but give Elizabeth tons of credit for her amazing lyrics and heartfelt vocals. This is a kind of country music that's hard to categorize, but it's the kind the very best of the genre are noted for: the likes of Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton and Dwight Yoakam. The common denominator is that they write their own stuff, and sing it with a kind of passion and intensity most popular singers never bring to their music.

The title cut may get all the attention, and it's a helluva song. But, it's no better than 8th best on this album. Every listener will have personal favorites, but this will be a record most will want to play all the way through every time. It's fitting that the final track is a cover of Tim Carroll's superb "Always Tomorrow". Guess we've been put on notice that more and better stuff is on the way. I won't be a doubter this time.

Only one complaint. Too bad the album didn't include a 12th track. The obvious oversight was a duet with Rodney Crowell of "Love Hurts". If you ever have the chance to hear them perform it live, you'll know what I mean. Buy this record, and if you don't already own "This Side of the Moon", pick that one up as well. If you're disappointed in the least, give them to someone with taste who can appreciate good country music.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. R. Good on April 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I was alerted to Elizabeth Cook by radio presenter Bob Harris here in UK.
Elizabeth cook sings traditional (real) country music, appreciates genuine musicianship, has a fine voice (and is also stunning to look at). If you are sick of pop-country artists who ditch the genre the moment they get some success (Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift) - rest assured Elizabeth Cook is the real thing. She regularly plays the Grand Ole Opry and will have much success amongst real country fans. The track Mama's Prayers and a cover of Sunday Morning are just 2 highlights of the CD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Craig Williams on November 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Great voice, style and presence. Carrying the tradition of Dolly and Loretta forward. Unfortunately she is too country for country radio. Shows how far country has fallen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Swinney on June 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD
So Elizabeth Cook poses the important country musical question of the times, if a Nashville woman possessed testicular rectitude, what would that look like, what would that sound like, what wouldn't this testosterone'd woman say? Well it seems on her Nashville breakout album, "Balls," Lizzie gal will say a plenty. It's not shocking that a record like this gets made these days but what is surprising is that it comes out of a Nashville studio co-written by a Nashville Country chops writer, Rodney Crowell. I can see this coming out of Chicago's own Bloodshot Records but Nashville?

So if the sounds here had a male counterpart it would most likely be Robbie Fulks Revenge! or Bobby Bare Jr. From the End of Your Leash. As far as country women singers go I'd say Elizabeth Cook was a smash-up of Gretchen Wilson One of the Boys, Sugarland Enjoy the Ride, little bit o' Shania The First Time... For the Last Time, and a whole lotta Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose thrown in to boot. What's that a-boot you may ask if you are from Canada like Twain? Well let me tell ya country music listener out there on the front porches of America, it's a-boot good music pure and simple.
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New Women's Anthem?
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