My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Asleep At The Wheel – ‘Remembers The Alamo’

mi0000402869Asleep At The Wheel released their concept album Remembers The Alamo, thirteen years ago this November. The record is comprised of a hodgepodge of songs pulled from a wide array of sources displaying the breadth of Ray Benson’s research on the titular San Antonio landmark.

The album opens brilliantly, with a bright cover of folk legend Jane Bowers’ “Remember The Alamo,” her account of infamous thirteen-day battle in 1836. The song is from the 1960 John Wayne film of the same name, as does “Green Leaves of Summer,” which features impeccable Spanish guitar licks and a revelatory vocal from Benson. Fiddle and steel dominate the first minute of “New San Antonio Rose,” their gorgeous rendition of the Bob Wills classic.

Among the tracks are five traditional tunes. “Billy In The Low Ground,” “Eighth of January” and “Soldier’s Joy” are fiddle tunes, while “Deguello” is distinguished by the lonesome wails of bugle. For the final one, they turn in a terrific version of “Yellow Rose of Texas.”

“Across the Alley from the Alamo” is a near-perfect facsimile of the version they included eighteen years earlier on their Asleep At The Wheel album. “Ballad of the Alamo” is a delightful folk song, once again about the infamous 1836 battle. Their version of “Ballad of Davy Crockett” is also wonderful although it is borderline cheesy.

The album concludes with two originals composed specifically for the record. Benson co-wrote the insufferable “Don’t Go There,” about the time Ozzy Osborne peed on the Alamo. The comic overtones are terrible and the song is just plain dreck. The other original, “Stout and High” is quite good.

I live in Massachusetts and have never been to Texas apart from layovers, so I have zero connection to anything remotely relating to The Alamo and the state of Texas. So I’m as surprised as any to find I connected with and thoroughly enjoyed this album. The record is fantastic and I highly recommend seeking it out, regardless of where you may be from.

Grade: A

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