Good as he is, Charlie Robison has always seemed to convey his wiseass Texas rounder persona more effectively from the stage than in the studio, as this live set proves in spades.

Good as he is, Charlie Robison has always seemed to convey his wiseass Texas rounder persona more effectively from the stage than in the studio, as this live set proves in spades. Such well-written country rockers as "Poor Man's Son" and funky "Right Man for the Job" take on a righteous edge via Robinson's crack band, the Enablers, in front of an appreciative Gruene Hall crowd in New Braunfels, Texas. "You're Not the Best" comes off like slightly inebriated terms of endearment, and raucous crowd singalongs don't dilute a murderous "Loving County" or a boozy "Life of the Party." Strains of Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" intro a rowdy "Barlight," and "The Wedding Song" is a testament to low expectations. "John O'Reilly" is a tough-as-nails Irish saga. While Robison or his brother Bruce wrote the bulk of material here, onstage musical ramblings touch on everything from the Stones, AC/DC, Bob Marley, and Steve Miller to Waylon and Willie. For a self-proclaimed "dumbass hillbilly from Bandera, Texas," Robison's got it going on.—RW

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print