This reunion of singer-songwriters Rodney Crowell and Vince Gill with pianist Tony Brown, ace guitarist Richard Bennett, and steel guitarist Hank DeVito sounds like the country equivalent of the Traveling Wilburys--a veter... more »an supergroup having too much fun to take itself too seriously. Alumni of Emmylou Harris's Hot Band, the Cherry Bombs were Crowell's backing band in the '70s. Since then, Gill has become a star, Brown has become better known as a label executive, and Bennett has seen considerable demand as a producer. Starting with a call to loosen up on "Let It Go, Let It Ride," the album shows a spirit of playful camaraderie. It's tough to imagine either Crowell or Gill putting a cut titled "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long" on one of their own albums, but the collaboration here is a honky-tonk highlight. DeVito remains the band's secret songwriting weapon, as "Wait a Minute" (in collaboration with Crowell) and a revival of "Sweet Little Lisa" (previously recorded by Dave Edmunds) capture the exhilaration of early rock & roll. A former gospel pianist, Brown adds revivalist preaching to this busmen's holiday. --Don McLeese« less
This reunion of singer-songwriters Rodney Crowell and Vince Gill with pianist Tony Brown, ace guitarist Richard Bennett, and steel guitarist Hank DeVito sounds like the country equivalent of the Traveling Wilburys--a veteran supergroup having too much fun to take itself too seriously. Alumni of Emmylou Harris's Hot Band, the Cherry Bombs were Crowell's backing band in the '70s. Since then, Gill has become a star, Brown has become better known as a label executive, and Bennett has seen considerable demand as a producer. Starting with a call to loosen up on "Let It Go, Let It Ride," the album shows a spirit of playful camaraderie. It's tough to imagine either Crowell or Gill putting a cut titled "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long" on one of their own albums, but the collaboration here is a honky-tonk highlight. DeVito remains the band's secret songwriting weapon, as "Wait a Minute" (in collaboration with Crowell) and a revival of "Sweet Little Lisa" (previously recorded by Dave Edmunds) capture the exhilaration of early rock & roll. A former gospel pianist, Brown adds revivalist preaching to this busmen's holiday. --Don McLeese
"Let me give you a list of names. Eddie Bayers; Richard Bennett; Tony Brown; Rodney Crowell; Hank DeVito; Vince Gill; John Hobbs; Michael Rhodes. Any of those names sound familiar? To country music fans, they should. Superstar singer/songwriters, top-notch studio musicians, highly demanded record producers. Who knew they played together?
The Notorious Cherry Bombs have created a country music album that is destined to become a classic. From breezy ramblers like "Let it Roll, Let it Ride," to the seriousness of a good ol' "prison" song ("Heart of a Jealous Man"), this CD is packed full of traditional country music. Master songwriters Rodney Crowell and Vince Gill do most of the writing, and share lead vocals; with the other guys backing them, it's a sure-fire combination for success.
The first single, "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night that Chew Your A** Out All Day Long" is a hilarious traditional number that even manages to poke fun at itself ("It's alright if we say it/'Cause radio won't play it/It's hard to kiss the lips at night that chew your a** out all day long"). Several other songs are upbeat and fun (these guys obviously love to play together), but it's not all fun and games. "Heart of a Jealous Man" is downright haunting, while a man fights temptation in "Dangerous Curves," and Rodney Crowell's "Making Memories of Us" ponders eternal love. Even the rollickin "On the Road to Ruin" has a dark undertone.
No duds on this album, folks. This is pure, solid country music by the best players in Nashville. God, I hope they do another album; this one's a classic. The Notorious Cherry Bombs--country music's Dream Team."
The Notorious Cherry Bombs is the Bomb!
T. Yap | Sydney, NSW, Australia | 08/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Prime Cuts: Dangerous Curves, It's Hard to Kiss the Lips..., Making Memories of Us
Once in a blue moon recording companies do tread upon the more conspicuous path by releasing a product that is eminently more for the enrichment of the format's genre, than in the assiduous pursuit of the mighty dollar. Kudos is in order to Universal South Records honcho Tony Brown for taking this leap of faith. The Notorious Cherry Bombs, unlike most country bands today, consists not of hotshot studs in their twenties. Rather forming the core are the country veterans such as Rodney Crowell, Tony Brown himself and Vince Gill with Rodney and Gill trading lead vocals on different tracks with occasional duets. If one thing can be said about this album, it is definitely not a factory-sealed commodity from Music Row's conveyer belt. Rather, this is an ebullient and sturdy effort that is solidly country and brilliantly executed.
The onus of songwriting is primarily shared between Crowell and Gill: with the pair penning 3 cuts together, Rodney writing 4 more tracks without Gill and Gill responsible for cutting 3 of his own composition plus a Hank DeVito cover song. Regardless of who holds the pen, every track here is a winner. The Crowell-penned "If I Ever Break Your Heart," for instance, an ode to marital fidelity has an enticing Eagles-like pop flair that harkens back to Crowell's "Diamonds and Dirt" days. "Making Memories of Us," also a Crowell original and a former Tracy Byrd track, is a brooding ballad of enduring love with such moving lyrics of devotion that could also work on a spiritual level.
Vince Gill, normally known for his smooth tenor, sounds a little husky on the bluegrass tingled "Oklahoma Dust." "Oklahoma Dust," co-written by Gill and the underrated Leslie Satcher, though not the most impressive track, boasts a rustic feel and features some complementary wailing steel guitars. Further, Gill has never sounded more lonesome than on the superb country shuffle "Forever Someday," an excellent follow up to Gill's heart shattering career defining smash "When I Call Your Name." A little reminisce of Reba McEntire's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," "Heart of a Jealous Man" also tells a story of how broken hearts and jealousy can be a deadly impetus to murder and bloodshed. Though not as suspenseful as Reba's hit, Gill attacks this song with panache.
Together as joint songwriters, Gill and Crowell are dynamite. Case in point is the vanguard single "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long" (are we looking for a contender for the longest song title?). Backed by some fine honky tonk piano, "It's Hard to Kiss..." may appear humorous on a cursory level, but at a closer listen, this ballad has some timely advice for anyone involved in a relationship. "Dangerous Curve," also another product of the Gill-Crowell collaboration, finds Gill's daughter Jenny adding backing vocals on this most radio-friendly and delightful scorcher detailing a man's wrestle over temptation. Since most of the members of the Notorious Cherry Bombs are musicians especially guitar-playing extraordinaires, they exemplify their craft with vivacity and gaiety on the rocking "Let It Roll, Let It Ride." "Let It Roll" gets reprise again towards the end of the CD. But with a running time over 7 minutes, the novelty somehow erodes.
This album is a great piece of work-potent in every sense with boatloads of excellent tunes to enjoy. It's been many moons ago since a country CD has been so satisfying and here's to more The Notorious Cherry Bombs CDs to come!"
This is da Bomb! (Meaning ...really really good!)
C. Jones | West Linn, OR USA | 07/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How can you go wrong on a CD that features Vince Gill, Tony Brown and Rodney Crowell? You can't. Mark my words as this CD will be in all the Top 5 lists for this year.
My favorite song is, Let It Ride, Let It Roll, a rollicking uptempo honkey tonk tune that Vince and Rodney take turns vocally calling out to the older set to loosen up before you're too old to do so.
The hilarious stone cold country of ,It's Hard To Kiss The Lips at Night, That Chew Your Ass out All Day Long, (the first video and single...look for Vince and Rodney in drag as each others wife...) while may not get the radio airplay it deserves (let's hope it does) will be the song and video everyone will be singing to.
Vince and Rodney both contribute about four songs each and the remainder is often a collaberation of writers.
While the sound overall is definately country it does not sound dated or tired. There is a true energy that this band exudes. Great singing, writing and playing throughout.
The whole CD is top notch but ,Dangerous Curves, and ,Forever Someday, stand out. Dangerous Curves is a mid tempo heart felt song from Rodney and Vince telling a married man ...you better go on home - she has dangerous curves... While ,Forever Someday, is a stone cold country ballad as only Vince could sing it.
With country radio playing the same 5 artists same 7 songs 99 times a day, my hope is that this CD is not overlooked.
Let's hope the Cherry Bombs decide to tour and that would be the only thing that could top this CD. A true masterpiece.
Thank heaven for Cherry Bombs!
M. Appelbaum | San Francisco | 01/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most reviewers mention "It's hard to Kiss . . ." first, so I won't. I'd rather concentrate on the other great music on this album, starting with my favorite, "Memories of Us." It's vintage Crowell, heartfelt and sentimental, with enough of an edge to keep it from going maudlin. And absolutely amazing lyrics. ". . . Down in the meadow/Where the wild bees swarm" reminds me of Yeats' "Bee-loud glade" (I wonder if this is intentional?) The other Crowell material is first-rate, especially "Dangerous Curves" and "If I ever break your Heart." The only song on the album I wish weren't there is "Oklahoma Dust" (sorry, Vince), but even that is better than what appears on any Toby Keith mess (or 99% of Nashville stuff these days).
OK, now to "It's hard to Kiss . . ." Great song, funny and sort of sad at the same time. It's a great send up of country ballads. And the video with Rodney and Vince in drag as each others' wives is a hoot. But that song is not the reason to buy this album. The other material is the reason.
Buy this. It will play on in your library long after "It's hard . . ." becomes so familiar you no longer laugh (and that should be in about 50 years)."
Making Memories Of Us
Mikey Sayz | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this on a flyer, just because it had Vince Gill on it. I was thoroughly surprised at the quality of the songs here.
The ballads rip your heart, the rockers rock, and the comedy country makes you laugh and sing along.
Crowell's voice only serves to highlight Vince all the more. Yet, the best ballad on here does not belong to Vince; instead it belongs to Crowell with Memories Of Us. On the other hand, Vince wins the best country groove award with Oklahoma Dust.
Good memories here, folks. I did not expect to love this cd, but love it I do.