David Ball's 1988 debut was sweet and melodic, complete with yodeling and a beguiling, light-on-its-feet traditionalism. Following his 1994 Top 10 single, "Thinkin' Problem," he wound up lost in the hat-act shuffle, which,... more » had he stuck with it, would probably have destroyed his integrity as it had that of so many others. Amigo returns Ball to his Southwestern roots. The title song, which he co-penned with Kostas, has a '40s feeling that sets the tone for the entire record. Other Ball-authored material is just as fine, particularly "Missing Her Blues," the yodelfest "Texas Echo," and the gutsy gospel of "When the Devil Wants to Wrestle." Ball also includes a masterful interpretation of Merle Haggard's loungy "Trying Not to Love You" and demonstrates his flawless taste in vintage material, recasting the 1920s pop hit "Linger Awhile" as fetching, acoustic-driven Western swing and the classic "Just Out of Reach" as a waltz. He may not be swimming in gold and platinum discs nowadays, but with a package this artistically satisfying under his belt, who cares? --Rich Kienzle« less
David Ball's 1988 debut was sweet and melodic, complete with yodeling and a beguiling, light-on-its-feet traditionalism. Following his 1994 Top 10 single, "Thinkin' Problem," he wound up lost in the hat-act shuffle, which, had he stuck with it, would probably have destroyed his integrity as it had that of so many others. Amigo returns Ball to his Southwestern roots. The title song, which he co-penned with Kostas, has a '40s feeling that sets the tone for the entire record. Other Ball-authored material is just as fine, particularly "Missing Her Blues," the yodelfest "Texas Echo," and the gutsy gospel of "When the Devil Wants to Wrestle." Ball also includes a masterful interpretation of Merle Haggard's loungy "Trying Not to Love You" and demonstrates his flawless taste in vintage material, recasting the 1920s pop hit "Linger Awhile" as fetching, acoustic-driven Western swing and the classic "Just Out of Reach" as a waltz. He may not be swimming in gold and platinum discs nowadays, but with a package this artistically satisfying under his belt, who cares? --Rich Kienzle
Great album by David Ball. Has my favorite "Riding With Private Malone".
I smiled when the first note was played. Great variety!
firmmarci | Bayfield, CO United States | 10/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This may not be totally objective, becuase I'm a huge fan of David Ball. But what a CD--well worth the long wait. David's voice sounds the same on this CD (wonderful) but I think he has a different group behind him, or the arrangements just expand their role a bit. It's a nice little tweak. I also love the fact that this is instantly recognizable as COUNTRY music. It's pretty bad when you don't know what radio station you're on (i.e., you hear several songs, assume you're on the pop/soft rock station, then look at the dial and, surprise!, it's a so-called "country" station. No thanks!)Amigo is a neat little song, easy to sing along to.Riding with Private Malone is bittersweet, considering recent events. Loser Friendly is about how easy the bar door swings open, the bartender sets up a tab real quick...it's all so loser friendly. Cute!Texas Echo was on his very first CD released years ago, before Thinkin' Problem. David sounds a little stronger this time.Trying Not To Love You is a nice change of pace and shows off his voice well.Linger Awhile is almost reminiscent of Bob Wills, David even does the little "Haaaaaaaa" that fades out. (If you're a Wills fan, you'll know what I mean...hopefully.)I also love Swing Baby--best listened to at near-maximum volume!The only one that isn't just really great is New Shiner Polka. But maybe it's just that I don't like polkas? They just make me laugh.No hesitations recommending this CD. David's one of the few real "country" singers left out there, and I'll keep buying his music as long as he puts it out."
Tried n' True Texas Swing.....
Patrice Webb | Georgetown, California USA | 10/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Those familiar with Uncle Walt's Band will remember David Ball's twangy tenor as being the perfect compliment to bandmate Walter Hyatt's cooly understated baritone. After the Band's break up and Walter Hyatt's tragic death, Ball struck out on his own with albums like "Thinkin' Problem" and "Starlit Lounge", albums that played the contemporary country game while staying true to Country's honky tonkin' roots. While both Albums were well received by critics and fans alike, neither album garnered Ball much radio airplay. In a better world, an album like "Amigo" would change all that. The name "David Ball" would be a household name and the album would be at the top of the charts with a Grammy Award for best Country Album.For those tired of the endless airplay of so called Country Music that has never seen a dance floor or tasted a cold beer, Ball's album will transport you back to a Texas honky tonk to a time when Country Music meant twin fiddles, broken heros, cryin'the blues, cheatin' lovin' and wrapping a long neck around your baby's neck for a swing around the dance floor.As with Toni Price's new album (Another Texas treasure) Ball draws from a variety of musical eras that explore Swing, Blues, and Tex Mex, mixing traditional Country with contemporary Country to form a style that is as distinctive as it is familiar. "Linger Awhile" a song originally done by the Count Basie Orchestra in the 1920s is given the Country Swing treatment in a way that would make Bob Wills proud. Ball takes Patsy Cline's lilting waltz "Just Out of Reach" out of the 1950s into the present and turns it into a languidly wistful song of lost love. "Amigo", a Ball original, is a love song that celebrates the love a musician has for his guitar. Ball gives a nod to contemporary Country in the form of "Saving Private Malone", which is a song about a soldier's lost dream becoming another person's reality and is a song that in these troubled times would become a number one hit if it was ever given a chance on the airways.Sounding at times like Dwight Yoakam, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard, Ball brings a fresh originality to the old, and keeps a sense of the old in the new in the original songs he co-writes with others. Ball's original Gospel number "When the Devil Comes to Wrestle" has the kind of foot stompin' guitar playing that sounds like it came directly from a Sunday afternoon revival meeting.If given a chance artists like David Ball could bring Country Music back to its rightful place. Here to hoping that Country Radio Programmers stand up and take notice."
Patrice Webb | 10/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is a real pleasure to get a country album that isn't a camoflauged pop album hidden behind a pair of dualing banjos and a little extra twang. David Ball has stood and delivered in "Amigo." The current single "Riding with Private Malone" is just the tip of a Texas sized iceberg. I enjoyed each track safe in the knowledge that someone who loves country music was doing his best to present his vision of how it should be done."
Patrice Webb | 11/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Amigo is the best country album since Dwight Yoakam's Tomorrows Sounds... This David Ball guy has so much talent: nice vocals, nice songwriting, and great care for keeping the music interesting. This is a lot of southwestern style country, some excellent Texas swing. I love all the creativity in these songs...the lyrics, the instruments used, everything! Private Malone is just one of 13 very good tunes. Speaking of that song, this is probably an album that will separate strong music fans and casual music fans. As you can see by previous reviews, many people ran into Amigo because of Pvt. Malone. Well, this is great music, but it may take some time to get used to if you're one of those people that's only heard the kinda "country" that's played on most radios. I think you'll have to listen with an open mind. One the other hand, if you already know true country, you'll love Amigo right away. This is some more music that only gets better with each time you give it a spin on the record player. I highly recommend it!!!"
David Ball is an Amigo!
Patrice Webb | 02/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got Mr. Ball's new record as a christmas present and it's really starting to grow on me. David Ball wrote three of the songs on here himself and also had a hand in 5 others. The musicianship is fabulous and David gives a thoroughly inspired performance! David Ball writes and sings about the love game with a little wry humor. For the most part, *Amigo* is upbeat and very danceable! The album has a nice variety of quality songs.Amigo- classic bouncy midtempo Western Swing tune.Missing Her Blues- this one has classic country lyrics sang to a calypso drum beat.She Always Talked About Mexico- Fantastic song featuring some spectacular guitar, trumpets, and accordion. The song also has a great lyric and an infectious melody.Riding With Private Malone- Very nice storytelling song with a timeless melody. Will probably become his signature song.Whenever You Come Back To Me- This is another nice smooth country ballad with a soulfull chorus.Loser Friendly- honkytonkin' song with fun, sing-along lyrics!Linger Awhile- Now this is a great upbeat Western Swinger that would make Bob Wills proud! It has those infectious touches of twin fiddles and pedal steel. Beautifull poetic lyrics and a cool vibe!Trying Not To Love You- This is a Merle Haggard penned tune. It's kind of a loungy, smooth ballad.New Shiner Polka- is a bouncy polka beat instrumental.Texas Echo- is a yodelfest with the instant classic lyrics: 'Under the open skies deep in the heart of Texas, the sun shines down on the cotton fields. As the clouds roll back across the sky, carry my love to the Rio Grand.'Swing Baby- Now here's the one that will get your fingers snappin' and shoes tappin', especially when the piano solo hits! It's a terrific melody with the perfect lyrics to fit.Just Out of Reach- is a nice winding down slow song that sets the tone for the end of the record.When the Devil Wants to Wrestle- is a bluesy/gospel tinged song written by Mr. Ball with the lyrics: 'When the Devil wants to wrestle, put Jesus in the ring.'Well, this record is sooooo good,...a total smash! Definitely the best Texas Honkytonk and Western Swing that I've heard in a long time. David Ball has a nice, distinctive country voice. Highly, highly recommended!"