ReviewsTwangin'!

One Riot One Ranger

One Riot, One Ranger
Self Produced Cassette

Mark Gaskill (guitar, vocals) Pete Remenyi (Dobro, bass, harmonica, vocals) Chas Williams (fiddle, mandolin, vocals) Mark Wyatt (accordion, bass, vocals) Carl Yaffey (banjo, bass)

Why Did I Leave California / On the Right Track Now / Adios My Amigo / Tennessee Coot / Memory of Your Smile / Write a Song About It / Old Home Place / Cowboy Lullabye / Long and Slow Decline / Caravan / Not So Long Ago / She's Not the Cryin' Kind


What makes a perfectly normal alternative rock musician take up the accordion and join a country/bluegrass band, huh, huh? Enquiring minds want to know. I'm talking here about Mark Wyatt, formerly of Great Plains (no not the Hot New Country band, the other Great Plains, a "folk-punk" group that disbanded in 1989), who sent me this tape. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, One Riot One Ranger plays a mix of country, bluegrass, and western swing, mixing old standards and traditional songs like "Tennessee Coot" and "The Old Home Place" with oddball covers like "On the Right Track Now," orginally done by the 13th Floor Elevators, and a blue-grassed version of "Caravan." (And if you think that's weird, they've been known to cover Pere Ubu's "Cloud 149.") A Great Plains song, "Long and Slow Decline" has also been given the twang treatment. None of these are novelty tunes, though; the Rangers aren't trying for the boffo Run C&W remake. All are heartfelt country renditions. I don't know what the original Great Plains version of "Long and Slow Decline" sounds like, but this sounds like country to me.

Fiddle and mandolin player Chas Williams writes most of the original tunes, including "She's Not the Crying Kind," and "Write A Song About It," two of my favorites on the tape, as well as "Adios My Amigo," which before looking at the credits, I thought was an old cowboy song.

Not all of the songs work -- their version of the Stanley Brothers' "Memory Of Your Smile" could stand to be punched up some, and I kinda prefer the cowboy songs to the bluegrass ones (that's a hint for more cowboy songs!) but at their best, One Riot One Ranger is pretty darn good & I'm looking forward to more. --Cheryl Cline




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