Lucky Tomblin Band – Self-Titled
Lucky Tomblin, a buddy of Doug Sahm’s who leads his own horn-driven band and runs a studio, brings together a batch of country veterans to tour honky-tonks and broken hearts.
With Redd Volkaert and Cindy Cashdollar on guitars and Earle Poole Ball on piano, this is a swinging affair, tight but casual. It’s the sound of musicians showing how well they know their way around the sound.
Much of it is classic honky-tonk, with western swing piled on top. “Ain’t No Piece Of Cake”, a polite destruction of the myth that musicians live easy lives, follows Ball’s piano bouncing all around. “Never Slept A Wink” swings gently, some fine picking from Cashdollar and Volkaert alternating with Ball’s piano.
“Illegal Man” heads to the border, with Augie Meyers’ Tex-Mex accordion driving home the story of an alien’s proud but resigned life: “I do my job the best I can, but I’m learning how it feels to be an illegal man.”
Many songs are covers, but Tomblin wrote some strong ones, including the Ball-Cashdollar showcase “Dancehall Sweetheart”, which will have you crying in your beer for Ernest Tubb. Other Lucky strikes are the still-missing-you “Out Of Your Mind” and the nearly gleeful I’ve-gotten-over-her-and-gotten-on-with-life “Sense Of Wonder”.
Tomblin’s plaintive vocals recall Lefty Frizzell, Lyle Lovett’s lilt, and a bit of Willie. His singing may be slight at times, but he pulls this CD off because the music has variety, emotion, and some strong, sure hands at work.