Steve Earle & The Dukes: Live At The Continental Club In Austin Texas

Steve Earle & The Dukes
Live at the Continental Club In Austin Texas

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The opener of Steve Earle & The Dukes’ Live At The Continental Club In Austin Texas, a cover of “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” roils up off of one chord progression. It’s not very hard to get grabbed, locked, and deeply infected by Earle’s tunes. With his chunkin’ 5- piece behind him, there’s no getting out of this mess not that you’d want to anyway.

Tunes like the smashing guitar jangle of “Guitar Town,” “Hillbilly Highway,” and the truly perfectly sad, “My Old Friend The Blues,” are included on this 2-sided, 21-song, run-through of Earle’s long career.

The raucous anti-gun tune, “The Devil’s Right Hand,” the mandolin/fiddle jig of “Dominic Street/The Galway Girl,” and of course one of Earle’s biggest and baddest, the low roiling “Copperhead Road,” are all here. “Goodbye Michelangelo” is real basic, built mainly round Earle’s acoustic, his stained jangle sneer-of-a-vocal, and his wonderful band laying back subtly. Kelley Looney is on bass, Brad Pemberton, drums, Eleanor Whitmore, handles fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Chris Masterson is on guitar and vocals, Chris Clack plays keys, accordion, and acoustic guitar, and Ricky Ray Jackson plays pedal.  It’s one of the better tunes here, out of a whole bunch of great tunes. And “Amanda,” a plodding love song, sees Earle laying himself pretty much bare with some beautiful female backing vocals from Whitmore. It’s another standout.

Near the end of the record Earle manages more covers, a noisy electric stompin’ “Hey Joe,” and an even louder “Wild Thing,” the very last song here and the heaviest of the bunch.

Steve Earle & The Dukes’ Live At The Continental Club In Austin Texas is a great live recording of what one of America’s greatest is still capable of.

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