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What I Really Mean

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Audio CD, May 10, 2005
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$11.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 4 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

'What I Really Mean' continues in the strong vein of what people expect Robert's music to be raw, down-to-earth alternative country music. It has material that crosses over into Americana, AAA, mainstream country, Texas, college and alternative radio markets. What I Really Mean is being heralded as Robert's best record to-date! Koch. 2005.

Few songwriters are as cinematic as Robert Earl Keen. In the tradition of Keen's classic "The Road Goes on Forever" and "Merry Christmas from the Family," his eleventh album finds the Texas troubadour transforming indelible characters, vivid description, and narrative drive into movies for the ear. He delves into the surreal with "The Great Hank," a spoken-word barroom vignette that features Hank Williams in a time warp (and in drag). He turns a fable about animals into a tale as dark and twisted as film noir in "Mr. Wolf and Mama Bear," and enlists a vocal cameo from Ray Price and a serenade from Mariachi Estrella to provide the soundtrack for the droll story of cantina overindulgence in "A Border Tragedy." Even the tender title song, about the touring musician missing his wife, shows his eye for evocative detail, with one of Keen's warmest vocals to date. Produced by his bandleader/guitarist Rich Brotherton, the album's musically expansive arrangements match the ambition of the storytelling, with guest banjo from the Bad Livers' Danny Barnes, a lovely soprano sax by John Mills on the title cut, and Celtic pipes from E.J. Jones on "The Traveling Storm." Keen may well expand his audience along with his musical range, as the uptempo "The Wild Ones" could pass as a John Hiatt cut, while "Broken End of Love" has an echo of Tom Petty. --Don McLeese

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. For Love 4:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Mr. Wolf and Mamabear 3:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. What I Really Mean 3:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. The Great Hank 4:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The Wild Ones 4:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Long Chain 5:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Broken End of Love 3:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. The Dark Side of the World 4:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The Traveling Storm 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. A Border Tale 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Ride 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 10, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Koch Records
  • ASIN: B0007Y8A74
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,112 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By William T. Vogt Jr. on May 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I have been listening to an advance copy of this album for almost two months. I have played it so often that my wife wants me to leave the house. She thinks I have a weird sickness for REK music, which I probably do. That said, I can tell you that this is an amazing CD and probably the best effort of Robert's long career. I think it could be the break out album for the premier singer songwriter from Texas.

Although I liked Farm Fresh Onions, I am really a bigger fan of some of his earlier stuff. Several songs off Bigger Piece of Sky, especially Paint the Town Beige and Crazy Cowboy Dream have always been my favorite REK tunes. I still listen to Picnic often. My favorite songs on it are: Over The Waterfall, Running With The Night and 4th of July.

If you share my love for those early songs, you are really going to like What I Really Mean. The song writing is vintage REK, and the band is excellent. Rich Brotherton may be the most under rated guitar player in the world. The rhythm section is as solid (game) as always on every song. The addition of Danny Barnes on banjo adds nicely to the sound of several tracks.

My favorite cuts on the CD are the title track with its catchy sax, banjo and wonderfully descriptive lyrics. I also love Broken End of Love. Even Bob Dylan hasn't written a song that uses the word metamorphosis. I also like the last cut, Ride, with its bouncy kind of rhythm and great lyrics. My 3-year-old daughter, who is a huge REK fan, likes Ride the best, along with Mama Bear.

If you are already a fan or just curious about Robert's music, you need to buy this CD. You will not be disappointed. Buy it and tell a friend.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Jones on July 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I have akways liked REK's music and he is so much fun in concert. While he does not have the best voice, he always puts pure emotion into each song. I was not a big fan of "Farm Fresh Onions" or "Gravitational Forces" so it has been over seven years since his last great album ("Walking Distance" in my opinion). I had about given up on Keen putting out relevant new music and going to a live concert to hear the same 20 or 30 songs over and over gets old. I love "The Pary Never Ends" but I worry about an artist that becomes more a "nostolgia act" playing the same "hit" older songs time after time.

Well, "What I Really Mean" is a tight well written classic. REK is at his best when he stays within the limits of his vocal range, delivers a well crafted story song with emotion and depth. Every song on the CD is well worth a listen (no duds in my mind).

The standout songs are the opening track "For Love" (which I think should be the next single), "The Great Hank" an infectious story song about a night watching a Hank Willioms impersonator, and of course the sweet title track "What I Really Mean".

Don't get me wrong the prior albums I spoke of had some great songs on it but way to many mediocre and just plain bad ones in the mix. This CD does not suffer from any defeciencies. You can pop it into your CD player, sing along to every song and enjoy it from beginning to end.

Thanks REK. Your back at the top of your game after all these years. I highly recommend you get this CD and of course a live show is a must!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This sterling album of Texas music is an excellent purchase for newbies to the field, a lingering listen for long-term fans, and a good way to get your stodgy old aunt to realize that the best real country music isn't being played on the country radio. Robert Earl Keen's sound is stirring and refuses to be nailed down, venturing far and wide to capture the mood the artist wants to create. And the lyrics are well-written, yoking together the down-home accessibility of Hank Williams with the emotional resonance of William Wordsworth.

If you listen to radio or podcasts focused on or Americana, you've probably heard several songs off this disk. "The Great Hank" is a shambling, playful spoken-word in which the narrator remembers a very distinctive honky-tonk concert. "For Love" is a good modern take on the traditional murder ballad, while "The Traveling Storm," though its diction tries a little too hard to be Shakespearean, is an excellent story of existential revenge. And the title track, a love song in which a touring artist misses his loved one at home, is one of the few songs you're likely to hear anytime soon with close harmony between a banjo and an alto saxophone.

The album lags a little in the middle. The artist has used his strongest story songs and ballads to bookend the album, not thinking too much about the center of the playlist. Specifically, "The Wild Ones" and "Dark Side of the World" aren't very strong. These songs could have been recorded by a stereotypical Nashville hat act. Robert Earl Keen is capable of better than this. If he wants to make a little extra by selling songs like these to Garth Brooks, he's more than welcome, but his fans have higher expectations than this from the material he releases under his own name.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cowboy on the Ocean on September 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For those who feel that REK has made a departure his unique style for a more Nashville sound will be thrilled with this album. Comparable to "Gringo Honeymoon," as this album very much has that storyteller feel to it. But where "Honeymoon" was a "drama," "What I Really Mean" is a "comedy." I haven't stopped listening to this album since I got it. Great for any Texas Country Music fan and REK fans will especially love this great album.
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