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The Complete Collection

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Audio CD, February 13, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Consider this an album-length sequel to "Ain't Livin' Long Like This," the autobiographical anthem that established Rodney Crowell at the songwriting vanguard of mid-'70s Nashville. Though his career has seen more misfires than hits in recent years, his music here returns to its purest, strongest impulses. Whether he's taking creative leaps beyond the facts of his life ("The Rock of My Soul," "I Wish It Would Rain") or operating within a more transparently confessional mode ("Why Don't We Talk About It," "I Know Love Is All I Need"), the results ring redemptively true. The album's centerpiece is a duet with Johnny Cash on "I Walk the Line (Revisited)," as Crowell puts his imprint on one of his former father-in-law's signature tunes. With echoes of some formative influences--from Sun rockabilly and Houston honky-tonk to Buddy Holly and the Byrds--Crowell's music provides buoyant complement to the plainspoken testament of the lyrics. --Don McLeese

1. Telephone Road
2. The Rock Of My Soul
3. Why Don't We Talk About It
4. I Wish It Would Rain
5. Wandering Boy
6. I Walk The Line (Revisited)
7. Highway 17
8. U Don't Know How Much I Hate U
9. Banks Of The Old Bandera
10. Topsy Turvy
11. I Know Love Is All I Need

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 13, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugar Hill
  • ASIN: B000055ZF2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,792 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Denny Angelle on February 14, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Houston sits along the fertile crescent of the Texas Gulf Coast, plagued by mosquitoes and insufferable heat and the occasional hurricane. Music is a melting pot of blues, country, Cajun zydeco, Tex Mex and rock and roll. Houston's top musical stars are not quite like anyone else: ZZ Top, Lightnin' Hopkins, Geto Boys, Destiny's Child to name a few.
Rodney Crowell is perhaps Houston's finest country export, a stellar performer and producer and a world-class songwriter who's penned hits for people like Emmylou Harris and his ex-wife Rosanne Cash (not to mention his own smash album "Diamonds and Dirt"). His new one, "The Houston Kid" puts Rodney back on the mean streets of the Bayou City, with a semi-autobiographical song cycle chock full of references to local landmarks and customs. (By the way, that's PRINCE'S drive-in he mentions in "Telephone Road," still the best place for cheeseburgers in Houston, but misprinted in the CD's lyrics.)
What a tuneful batch of songs, swinging from the upbeat nostalgia of "Telephone Road" to the Springsteen/Nebraska-like "Highway 17." "I Walk the Line (Revisited)" is about as joyous a piece of country-rock as you'll liable to hear anywhere and even the guest vocalist (The Man In Black) sounds strong and invigorated.
Crowell's genius is penning lyrics that feel fresh and raw like a scraped knee and hanging them on inventive but comfortable melodies. Songs like "Banks of the Old Bandera" have an unbearable sense of loss, then right on its heels there's "Topsy Turvy" that masks its pain with an uptempo beat.
Americana radio ought to embrace this new Crowell CD, and if it would get played on commercial radio it sure would open some ears. "The Houston Kid" is a real gem.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ron Frankl on February 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is an impressive return to form from an artist who has struggled artistically and commercially for much of the last decade. Like fellow Texan Willie Nelson, Crowell had the misfortune to write his most memorable songs before he became a star. "Ain't Livin Long Like This," "Til I Gain Control Again"and "Leavin' Louisiana" were hits soon after Crowell departed from Emmylou Harris' Hot Band, but they were hits for other artists. Crowell recorded three solid albums for Warner Brothers that didn't sell. It wasn't until his stay on Epic Records beginning in the mid Eighties that Rodney Crowell became a bona fide country star, with strong material that seemed to point to a new direction in Nashville. He recorded three wonderful albums that became big sellers, the best being the wonderful (and recently reissued) "Diamonds and Dirt." Along with then-wife Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith and Kathy Mattea, Crowell seemed at the vanguard of an ambitious movement of songwriters and performers that could transform country music into something more than rural pop music. For a few years, these artists had some significant commercial and artistic successes, and the future seemed bright.
Well, unfortunately, it didn't last. Country turned in less ambitious and serious directions. Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and a legion of faceless cowboy-hatted singers came to dominate the charts. Rodney Crowell and these other talented artists stopped selling, at least to country audiences. As the Nineties went on, Crowell's songwriting recordings seemed less confident and inspired, and his career came to standstill. A messy divorce from Cash further damaged his image.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 27, 2001
Format: Audio CD
"The Houston Kid" may be the strongest over-all work Crowell has ever done. All 11 songs on this recording are top notch stuff. Crowell is more introspective on this work than any of his previous recordings, and some of those were outstanding as well. It's great to see him recover from the past few years of struggle (Let the Picture Paint Itself). He more than makes up for making us wait with this work. I especially enjoyed "The Rock of My Soul", "Why Don't We Talk About It" and "Topsy Turvy". His duet with Johnny Cash was also memorable. And this is the first time I'd ever heard him perform "Banks of the Old Bandera", which was covered by Jerry Jeff Walker many years ago. Crowell also does the song justice. I recommend this recording highly to any true music fan and especially if you have previously enjoyed Rodney Crowell's work.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jef Fazekas on April 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'm so glad I held off reviewing "The Houston Kid" for a while...waiting allowed me to write this review after seeing Rodney in concert, and I can't begin to say how much hearing these songs live made me appreciate them even more. Songs like "The Rock Of My Soul", "I Wish It Would Rain" and "Wandering Boy" bacame even more hushed and haunting; it was almost like we were sitting around the fireplace, at Grampa Rodney's feet, listening to him strum and tell tales. However, you don't have to hear these songs live to A) appreciate what gems they are and B) realize this CD may very well be Crowell's career masterpiece. Long a heartfelt, honest songwriter, he's never been moreso - almost nakedly - than on "The Houston Kid." It's best to go into "The Houston Kid" acknowledging that, yes, there's an autobiographical element to the CD, but it's not necessary to take everything at face value. Being aware of the fact that Crowell, first and foremost, is a top-notch (song) writer makes the listening process a whole lot easier. Opening up the CD is the rollicking "Telephone Road", which sets the pace for the whole album. With dead-on, picture perfect lyrics such as "barefoot heathens running wild and free", "there's a chinaberry tree I remember I used to climb in and out of my window" and "sawdust spread out on a dancehall floor jukebox ripping at an all out roar", you know Crowell is reaching back for images that were cataloged and filed away long ago, and he's taking us along for the ride.Read more ›
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