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Zeke & the Wheel

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Audio CD, September 21, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

In the '70s the word outlaw came to define a genre of country that mixed rock and honky-tonk with some folk lyricism and more than a little hard and fast living. R.B. Morris, a Knoxville singer-songwriter (and published poet and playwright), updates the Outlaw approach with an ambitious concept album that often roars like a resurrected junkyard V-8 (thanks to roots-rock producer R.S. Field and guitarist Kenny Vaughan) but mostly meditates soulfully on the human urge for freedom, whether in the form of moonshiners, prophets, bandits, poets, or lovers. Though woven together by a common thread of lawlessness, each of Morris's songs stands well on its own, especially the radiant "Lest We All Lose" (which sounds like a fine, lost country-soul single). Morris deserves a wider audience, not only from fans of gutsy singer-songwriters like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bruce Springsteen, but from anyone interested in the best that alternative country has to offer. --Roy Kasten

1. Zeke And The Wheel
2. Maybe The Soul
3. Distillery
4. A Winter's Tale
5. Someone Was Listenin'
6. I've Been Waiting
7. You My Love
8. She Sings Me Songs Of Solomon
9. Call Me Zeke
10. Long Arm Of The Law
11. Lest We All Lose

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 21, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Koch Imports
  • ASIN: B00000K29X
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,134 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The poor guy who made a coaster out of this CD would probably never have done that if he had listened to the CD more than once or twice. I have to admit R.B. Morris went over my head on my first listen and I might have done the same with the CD if I hadn't taken the advice of a friend.
My friend said, "R.B. Morris is a genius."
So, I played the CD again and really listened. Man, this guy really is a genius! Thank God I didn't make a caoster out of my copy. I play that CD over and over and over, and each time I see with greater depth the true profundity of this artist's imagery. Every listen is like peeling back a new layer of emotional expression which leaves me haunted with the message in his mood for hours afterward. It's just so damn clever, but at the same time, so honest, so brilliant. There is a poet of the highest caliber lurking under this persona of a beer drinking, wandering bard.
For example, there is a song that says there is a still (like a moonshine still) inside each of us that produces our own elixer of life so why do we need a distillery to come in and take it over and tell us what to believe? Who would have thought spirituality was like a liquor still? Who would have compared the church to a distillery? R.B. Morris does and he makes such a notion so clear that I can feel the vapors in my very soul.
I think I'll have a little nip by playing that CD again right now.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Scott McNutt on December 23, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Redemption, whether personal, communal, or global, is the theme that loosely ties Morris's latest collection of songs together, and it is a theme that suits Morris's songwriting. In this case, redemption is not necessarily religious, and even on those songs where the lyrics stray into religious territory (Someone Was Listenin', Lest We All Lose), it is clear that Morris is not content to wait for salvation to come from some omniscient being in the sky.
The ongoing human struggle to treat each other with respect and dignity is the backdrop for Morris's mini-dramas, as reflected in the lyrics from Maybe the Soul: Maybe the soul can still be pure/ I'd like to think it's true/ There's something there for sure/ But I ain't got a clue/ There's laws of man, and laws of God/ and laws of nature too/ There's judges everywhere you look/ But they're all outlaws too.
Musically, Morris retains his same eclectic stylings, moving from bouncy pop to hard rock, and on through gospel, folk, and blues with ease. (There's even a Christmas song!) If anything, the songs on this album demonstrate a greater comfort with blending different styles within the same song, rather than simply jumping into different styles in each song (although there are stll some awkward transitions). All in all, an excellent album, and a must for anyone who likes intelligent lyrics coupled with catchy musical hooks.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
R.B. Morris is a fine example of just how good you can be and how little airplay you can get. Damn Shame. This album (beautifully produced by R.S. Field) is full of top-notch songwriting and great sonic scapes. The guitar players produce some fabulous riffs and textures, to boot. Buy it, I say, buy it now... and look for R.B. on the road... he's always out there.
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