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Real Deal


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Audio CD, September 20, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It seems like Billy Joe Shaver has done just about everything. He's written songs for countless artists from Elvis to Bob Dylan, starred in major Hollywood movies, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and tapped to join Merle Haggard, Toby Keith, Jerry Lee Lewis, Shelby Lynne, and more for CMT's 'Outlaws Concert' in November. However, Billy Joe is not one to rest on his laurels. At age 65, he had added another first to his list of credits by finally taking a turn in the producer's chair for this album. For The Real Deal, his first studio album in three years, Shaver hunkered down in a Pedernales, TX, studio to record 14 out of 15 new tracks for the album. Compadre. 2005.

Amazon.com

Rough-hewn Texas treasure Billy Joe Shaver is something like that old chunk of coal he once wrote about--except his "diamond" already shines through. On this self-produced effort, his first new studio release in three years, he strips things down to the basics in mostly acoustic arrangements that sometimes recall Hank Williams Sr. at his starkest and most vulnerable. The material--alternately heartbreaking ("Livin' a Lovin' Lie") and outrageously earthy ("If the Trailer's Rockin' Don't Come Knockin'")--cuts a wide path, including two reworked numbers: a hot-wired version of "Live Forever" with Big & Rich, who, led by Big Kenny, sail into an evangelistic romp near the end; and an invigorated solo rendition of "Jesus Christ Is Still the King." Shaver has been to hell and back on a pack horse in the last six years--his wife died after a long bout with cancer; his blazingly talented guitarist son, Eddy, died of a drug overdose; and his own health was threatened. But what a comeback, steeped in his faith in the Almighty and his own power of resurrection. The evidence is here in abundance. "Slim Chance and the Can't Hardly Playboys," a vocal collaboration with Kevin Fowler, showcases Shaver's renewed sense of humor, while "Valentine," an affecting duet with Nanci Griffith, does as much as his recent wedding to spotlight his belief in romance as redemption. There's not much to quibble with here, unless you're a grinch who wants to gripe about Shaver's meandering sense of pitch, his way of sometimes circling around a note before he finally lands. But if you are, there's a bonus track here for you--a sprightly accordion-laced version of "Feliz Navidad" with Flaco Jimenez. This is "The Real Deal," all right. And then some. --Alanna Nash

1. Live Forever (with Big and Rich)
2. There’s No Fool Like an Old Fool
3. Livin’ and Lovin’ Lie
4. It Just Ain’t There For Me No More
5. Jesus Christ is Still The King
6. Slim Chance and the Can’t Hardly Playboys (with Kevin Fowler)
7. I Changed My Mind
8. Sweet Melody
9. Valentine (with Nanci Griffith)
10. You Ought to be with Me When I’m Alone
11. Down the Road by the Way
12. West Texas Waltz (with Kimmie Rhodes)
13. The Real Deal
14. If the Trailer’s A Rockin’ Don’t Come Knockin’
15. Try and Try Again
16. Aunt Jessie’s Chicken Ranch

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 20, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Compadre Records
  • ASIN: B000AQKYUU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,127 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
82%
4 star
18%
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See all 17 customer reviews
This is a great C.D. By BIlly Joe Shaver.
R. D. Mcglashan
This is one of those rare albums that gets better and better the more you listen to it.
Paul
Poetic lyrics, great storytelling and his voice getting better with age.
John L. Port

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By F. Oakley on September 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an exquisite album. The flavor blossoms with every spin. A couple of the songs are funny, the way Texas songwriters write funny songs. A couple are sad. They just grow the more you listen.

Each new Billy Joe Shaver album is a surprise in many ways. How does he maintain such longevity? Where does he find this seemingly bottomless well of creativity? How can he make all these old things seem new again? The huge suprise to me in this, his first self-produced album, is the frank, unapologetic retro sound. This is the music I grew up hearing on my dad's old 78's. Steel guitar, heartbreak, grownup love, and Jesus.

And this is a mellow album. Even "Slim Chance" and "If the Trailer's Rockin", songs in which Billy is apparantly "channelling Roger Miller" (as Robert Ealr Keen once observed) are distinctly kind songs.

What is not surprising, for anyone who knows his work, is the sincerity and profound beauty of most of the songs. "Profound" is the correct word. When Billy asks "Will you be my Valentine...will you let our hearts entwine?", you know he's talking about marrying the same woman three times in an effort to get it right in the end. You know he's referring to our lives, to making a go of it with that less than perfect man who held your heart while your dad died, to loving that kid who just can't seem to graduate from rehab, to loving a God who seems to keep heaping on the trials along with the blessings.

You gotta stand in awe of Billy Joe Shaver. He is as he sings. Pure and without pretense. And beautiful.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tim Hanson on October 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I would have given it more stars if I could. A true artist, it makes you feel like the songs are being sung directly to you, music like this is the best. Real Country, not just bad rock and roll.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Louis Peanut on November 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I saw first Billy Joe Shaver on the CMT Outlaw show hosted by Merle Haggard and Toby Keith in early November. I heard Mr. Shaver sing two songs, both of which are on this wonderful CD. I was spellbound knowing I was hearing the raw truth especially after listening to him tell what happened to his family. I went out the next day and bought this great CD. I listen to Billy Joe Shaver every day. I keep hitting "repeat" button on "Try Try Again" and "I'm Going to Live Forever". I truly can't get enough of his songs now that I have discovered him.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DanD VINE VOICE on December 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For decades, Billy Joe Shaver has been crafting some of the most unique country songs ever. Remember Waylon Jennnings' HONKY TONK HEROES album? Remember all those great outlaw songs--songs of honesty, redemption, and being true to yourself? That's Billy Joe Shaver. THE REAL DEAL proves that Shaver's talent as a songwriter is still top-notch. His singing? Not the best ever, no--but then, if you are buying this album, you don't care. Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan can't sing worth a hoot, either. Look where they are today.

This is an album that runs the gammut of topics and themes. There are touching, powerful songs of redemption alongside laugh-out-loud hilarious diddies. There're genuinely romantic ballads, and even an ode to the Wild West (and, oddly enough, Sophocles's "Oedipus"). If you want to sum up this album, though, you can't do any better than Shaver himself does in the title track. "You're rich and you're good looking and outstanding in your field, but I'm the real deal...I got one foot in the grace and the other on a 'nanner peel, but I'm the real deal." True enough. Billy Joe Shaver is all that and more. An American icon--even if his name isn't as reknowned as his other Outlaws he helped make famous--Shaver tells it like it is, because he doesn't know any other way. Thank God for that. This is true, pure, honest country music with heart, soul, and a whole lot more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John L. Port on October 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is classic Shaver material. Poetic lyrics, great storytelling and his voice getting better with age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kirk L. Wood on July 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
BJS just goes to show that age is just a state of man. Another EXCELLENT cd form the man!! Maybe his best yet!

The songs are sharp. The lyrics are just daggers. The mood they create are stunning. "No Fool Like An Old Fool", "Livin' and Lovin" Lie" and "Just Ain't There For Me" will be classics!! The music and the emotion just make you stop and listen and become one with these songs.

The opener with Big and Rich is a nice step away for BJS. I've heard some complaints. I personally like ""Gonna Live For Ever". Great tune with a cool message. Might bring BJS to the mainstream fame he deserves!

There are even a couple of raunchy-ish songs on this offering. NICE!!!

Really..This is a 10 Star cd.

BJS must have some really BIG Cowboy boots...That much talent has got to have someplace to reside!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By fluffy, the human being. on March 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD
okay folks, round up all your toby keith, vince gill, and garth brooks cds, take 'em down to the goodwill and leave them there. then get yourself some real country genius. billy joe shaver is about as good a place as any to start your new, more rewarding life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Bippen on October 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was introduced to BJS via the Big and Rich song, when I saw the video on CMT. I am embarrassed to say I had not heard of BJS but decided to purchase this CD anyway. Oh My Goodness! This is an awesome CD and has far exceeded my expectations. If you like honky-tonk music, you will not be disappointed. The lyrics are great and the melodies are foot tapping and difficult to forget. I agree with some of the other reviewers-if I could give this CD a "ten" I would.

TB
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