CD Review: Yellow Texas Moon- The Western Caravan

(featuring Thirsty Dave) (WCP-03)

As a follow-up to a very successful live album, New York City's premier Western Swing band, The Western Caravan has just released their first studio CD. The group's highly talented steel guitar and acoustic guitar player, John Widgren produced this album that was recorded recently in Norwalk, CT.

Other band members joining John for this superb album are Steve Alcott on both acoustic and electric bass, Mike Coon on guitar, Ken Fradley on trumpet, Thirsty Dave Hansen on vocals, Bob Mastro on fiddle and Dave Sonneborn on drums. The band's piano player, Joe Kerr is also featured on vocal on two of his own compositions, Bessie and I Kind Of Like It Here In France. Special guest Mark Rubenstein joins in on accordion.

The album opens with some wonderful Dave Hansen vocal on one of his own compositions, the title tune, Yellow Texas Moon. This is just one of the many tunes on which John's steel and Bob's fiddle just blow you away. Dave also wrote the swinging Oklahoma Blues, the Texas Dance Hall styled Making A Fool Of Myself and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Bottle. Dave also joined Joe to co-write the country oriented One Last Lie. John, Mike and the entire band bring back memories of the glory years of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours with a great version of Buddy Charleton and Leon Rhodes' Honey Fingers. Possibly the highlight of the album is an incredible version of the old popular music chestnut Back Home Again In Indiana. Another interesting song that is reprised is the late Leon Payne's Psycho.

This album should be added to the collection of all fans of contemporary Western Swing or of any of theses fine musicians. This band is on the verge of really taking off and this John Widgren production could be the vehicle to get it going. The songs, arrangements, vocals and instrumentation are all first class. It can be obtained from Western Caravan at P.O. Box 333, Wilton, CT 06897-0333 for $15 plus $2 for shipping and postage costs.

Mike Gross, WVOF-FM, Fairfield, CT 06432