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Farm Fresh Onions

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Audio CD, October 7, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 7, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Koch Records
  • ASIN: B0000CD5FI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,225 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Furnace Fan
2. All I Have Is Today
3. Out Here In The Middle
4. Train Trek
5. Farm Fresh Onions
6. Floppy Shoes
7. Gone On
8. So Sorry Blues
9. Beats The Devil
10. These Years
11. Famous Words
12. Let The Music Play

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The tenth album in a career that began with No Kinda Dancer way back in 1984, Farm Fresh Onions is a milestone disc for Robert Earl Keen--but not a particularly special effort from the veteran Texas songwriter. It opens well enough, moving from the rib-sticking roots-rock of "Furnace Fan" to the tuneful jangle of "All I Have Is Today" and on to the chugging "Train Trek." But then Keen loses his focus: The title cut starts out as a talking blues but devolves into an awkward jam; "Floppy Shoes" and "So Sorry" are boozy, self-conscious takes on funk and slow-burning blues, respectively. The Neil Young-ish rocker "Beats the Devil," narrative ballad "These Years," and closing country weeper "Let the Music Play" help Keen bounce back by disc's end, but it's never a good sign when an artist like this--that is, one better recognized as a songwriter than a performer--puts out a disc on which the single best song is a cover. Here, it's Keen's duet with Shawn Colvin on James McMurtry's "Out Here in the Middle" that truly takes the cake. --Anders Smith Lindall

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By tikcuf on March 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
among a very crowded field, robert earl keen has been one of the best and most consistent texas singer-songwriters for over two decades. he has an intensely loyal following, but deserves a wider audience. his style is more implanted in the folk, rather than the country branch of the texas singer-songwriter genre, as also typified by artists such as lyle lovett, guy clark, and townes van zandt. his songs are immensely engaging, and evocative. he has a wonderful sense of humor and is not pretentious.
some of these songs depart from his usual sound with a loud guitar-driven rock sound and, even, some funk. the songs, for the most part, are superbly written and performed. the song "these years" is a classic, poignant REK song about his parents which will rip your heart out of your chest.
if you are an established robert earl keen fan and are expecting more of the same, this album might take a little getting used to, so please be patient; your patience will be rewarded. if you are new to this artist and like the alt-country, texas singer-songwriter genre, you will enjoy this album immensely. (you should also check out lyle lovett's album "step inside this house" on which REK and REK songs are featured.)
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Billy R. Locke on October 31, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Don't listen to anyone who doesn't like this production. REK is dead on like he always is, but introduces some new wrinkles. The same intelligence that you expect is there, with the same quirky occasionally humorous style that you also expect. There are people without enough mental abstract capacity to "get it" that will not like this work. These are the same type of people who never got over Roger Waters leaving Pink Floyd. Don't listen to them, listen to REK. They don't understand that the only constant in life IS CHANGE. This is a great work and he and his band deserve credit for it. "Texas Music" has long been about partying, rivers, stale burritos, lost loves, and other universal stuff. REK reaches inside himself (and us) and expresses both sides of all of our personalites. But stops to have a little fun (as usual) along the way. This one should put REK & Co. on the map. If it doesn't I'll be very disappointed. But I WILL keep listening.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I have followed Robert Earl Keen's career for years. I am a big fan and I buy every one of his records. Farm Fresh Onions is a record that I did not expect him to make, but I am glad that he did.
This record unquestionably distances REK from the dime-a-dozen "Texas Songwriters" (who know who you are) that are clogging your musical arteries with "Texas Music" sludge and convincing people that Texas is only about tacos, beer, and floating down the river. On FFO, the big dog is on the front porch and he's claiming his territory by pissing all over mediocre "Texas Music" with this superb album; An album that is not done justice by labeling it "Texas Music", as I've already done twice.
The liner notes state that this record was all about having fun in the recording studio, and that ethos comes through on this record, like it never has before on a REK record. If you've seen REK live, you know that he is indeed a lot of fun, but that only occasionally comes through on his records, until now. Although there are dark moments on this record ("Let The Music Play" and "Famous Words"), this record is mostly about fun.
"Furnace Fan" opens the album and sets the high water mark of any song REK has written thus far, only to be one-upped by the following song, "All I Have Is Today", a n upbeat musical mantra for all the "Shiny Happy People" out there.
Shawn Colvin's guest vocals on the McMurtry song "Out Here In The Middle" are welcome, but not needed. The song doesn't need the help and would be fine with REK alone.
REK seems to have found his inner hippie on "Floppy Shoes" and "Gone On", two loose-as-a-goose upbeat songs, complete with bouncy piano and organ.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By James L. Gideon on November 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Robert Earl -
Still I love you, but this is so very hard to take.
Sounds like you might'a had some rejects from your last two recording sessions, had an obligation to produce a new album and just used all those rejects.
It's not bad music, in fact it's pretty good. But it's only pretty good.
Were I not an REK die-hard, and heard this album, I'd never buy it. I'd just say it's another pretty good singer/songwriter doing pretty good stuff, as many Texas musicians do, and I can't buy them all. But I am a Robert Earl Keen enthusiast, so I did buy this record (CD). And I guess that's okay - I have to have everything you've done. And maybe it'll get better as I play it again and again.
Meanwhile, I have the actual REK: "Corpus Christi Bay" "Lynville Train, "Levelland," "The Road Goes On Forever" and so many more I won't try to list them here - Until today the only REK song I ever fast forwarded through was the title cut on Gravitational Forces, which really really sucks. Everything else was sacrosanct. If I'd heard it a thousand times, I still had to hear it again. I could not make myself stop listening to any REK song. But after hearing the songs on this album once, I fast-forwarded through most of them, and don't really care to hear them again.
REK's strength is best exhibited in his story telling songs (his Texas `aw shucks' delivery in some songs is so effectively contrasted with his dooms-day tone on other tunes - in all of which his voice quality is just exactly right), his humour, the deep down understanding he expresses in his words and his delivery, as if he's lived every moment of whatever it is that he's singing about. God how I love that.
This CD is disappointing. But I still have everything he's done previously. And I'll keep on listening to those and hoping for better in the next album.
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