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Though the title could as easily apply to most of Brown's output, Mixed Bag
understates the eclecticism of this radical traditionalist's first release in almost three years. For fans of his pyrotechnic picking on his double-necked "guit-steel," there's an album-opening assault on Jerry Reed
's "Guitar Man," as well as supercharged romps through "Catfish and Collard Greens" and "Wild Goose Chase." While the musical rewards of such virtuosic displays may wear thin quickly, the balladry of "Running with the Wind" and "Our First Bluebonnet Spring" strikes a richer, deeper vein, while the patented wordplay of "Cagey Bea" (about a Russian spy) and "Little Town Square" attests to Brown's distinctive songwriting. The biggest stretch is the horn-laden Dixieland of "Riverboat Shuffle," before the musicianship of veteran stalwarts such as pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins and drummer Buddy Harman returns the collection full-circle to classic country. --Don McLeese