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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Kansas may be the flatest state in the Union, but they've produced some sharp artists through the years. Split Lip Rayfield is just one such, a kick-ass bluegrass ensemble that plays traditional music with one of the sharpest edges out there today. In a day and age when Oh Brother Where Art Thou threatens to trap bluegrass in a Depression-era museum case, Split Lip Rayfield plays string band music for the new milennium.
The only unifyning theme on this album is the undisputed picking power of the artists. It's all string music--no keys, no drums, just strings. But there's no risk of it all sounding the same. From upbeat rockers like Kiss of Death to honky-tonk beauties like Drink Lotsa Whiskey, country chestnuts like Love Please Come Home to iconoclasty like Dime Story Cowboy, this album never gives you a chance to take the band for granted.
Split Lip Rayfield is famous for their live shows, and of course an album can never match up to that. Still, this is shimmy music for Hell's own square-dance. If you want a string band album that will make you jump out of your chair and scream for more, this is it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is get-drunk-and-dance-around-naked music from my favorite speed metal bluegrass band. I've been looking forward to this release ever since I saw them last summer; many of the songs I couldn't get out of my head back then are on this disc. The playing is as taut as ever--aggressive yet loses nothing in pickin' technique. The sounds that Jeff Eaton can coax out of Stitchgiver (the gas tank bass with a weedeater string) never fail to amaze me. Five of the 14 songs are penned by their mandolin player, Wayne Gottstine--including the song has stuck with me since last summer, 'Used to Call Me Baby' -- "Nighttime drives me crazy/I bang my fists on the wall/She used to call me baby/Now she don't call at all." Damn. That's the kind of country blues that makes you sit down with a bottle of whiskey..'Drink Lotsa Whiskey'. Good thing there are plenty of quick-pickin' songs to go around; Kirk Rundstrom's lightning fast playing fits seamlessly with Eric Mardis' relentless banjo on songs like "Thief," "Kiss of Death," and the title track "Never Make It Home." Keep an eye out for them--it's not often you get to headbang to acoustic music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2001
Ther aint many albums out there that can turn heads asking,"Who is this"? and make people(like myself) call the radio station asking. Split Lip delivers such an album. I have their other two, and recommend them highly, but this is the one to have. This record shows the bands maturity in their song writing skills and their harmonies have never sounded better. It is a beautiful thang!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Sometimes, the most pleasant surprises we receive are right in our own backyard. As a native of Wichita Kansas, I had never heard of Split Lip Rayfield until I saw them on Austin City Limits one evening. I've been a fan ever since, and this CD is a prime example of their raw, edgy, and whimsical style. This certainly isn't your father's bluegrass band, from their song titles, to their personnel, and the attitude they exude through every tune. They are to bluegrass what the Sex Pistols were to rock 'n roll. From the title track to "Used to Call me Baby," these guys craft catchy tunes with a sharp wit and an inimitable total style that is all their own. Definitely worth a listen, even if you're not a "typical" bluegrass fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
This is either the best or second best Split Lip Rayfield album depending on how you feel about "In The Mud". This album is really fantastic and the first 3 tracks alone are worth the price of the entire CD. The band is at full strength at this point and all 4 members shine in their own way. This CD is a lot of fun to listen to and the songs will make you want to sing along and stomp your feet with glee. The song "Never Make It Home" features the best kazoo solo I have ever heard (played by Gas Tank Bass master Jeff Eaton) and "Record Shop" might be my favorite song that Kirk ever wrote in his entire career. The vocal harmonies are beautiful and the picking is second to none. This album is a must own for music fans of all ages!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2011
I've been a Split Lip fan ever since I saw them warm up for Rev. Horton Heat in the fall of 2006. This CD is arguably the best of their offerings with tight harmonies, catchy tunes and aggressive bluegrass playing.

These guys are awesome. I recommend checking out all their work especially this CD and the DVD "Live at the Cotillion Ballroom". Even the 2008 release of "I'll Be Around" is decent but without Kirk Rundstrom's vocals, songwriting and guitar prowess something seems to be slightly missing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2002
The way Kirk Rundstrom and Wayne Gottstine trade greats songs on "Never Make It Home" reminds me of the way Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir used to alternate classic tunes on Dead albums. And to carry the analogy further, this disc may be SLR's "Workingman's Dead." A real turning point for the band. Also, hat's off to Eric Mardis for contributing the best track on the disc -- "Kiss of Death." This is SLR's best yet. Buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2013
I saw these guys growing up in lawrence and LOVE them. Lost my burned copy of this album a few years ago and decided to replace it with the real one. Some of the most hardcore bluegrass ever!
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on May 1, 2008
Sit down, turn the stereo up, strap yourself in and get ready for a fast and furious musical ride. This album dares you to sit still. Incredible playing at times seemingly defying the laws of physics. Excellent.
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on February 17, 2015
Seen these guys live 3 or 4 years back, and fell in love with them. they have so much power and intensitiy! cant even say i was, or am a huge bluegrass fan, but these guys got my ear
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