The instantly recognizable harmonies of veteran vocal group the Statlers sound great on their first new album in five years—and the primarily original songs are all up to par.

The instantly recognizable harmonies of veteran vocal group the Statlers sound great on their first new album in five years—and the primarily original songs are all up to par. The musically upbeat "She Never Altogether Leaves" belies its tender irony much as "Flowers on the Wall" did a generation ago. "Too Late for Roses" is classic country in the Statler style, and "You Just Haven't Done It Yet" shows off the group's upper and lower realms while demonstrating how corny can also be cool. Strings and Hargus "Pig" Robbins' piano punctuate the sweetly romantic "In Love With You," and the regretful "It Should Have Been Me" is endearing and well-played. Brothers Don and Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, and Jimmy Fortune all handle their turn at the mike with aplomb, and together their harmonies ebb and flow to great effect. A highlight is the amiable sing-along "I've Had a Good Time," which indeed makes us glad these guys "didn't give up and didn't die young." Light years away from contemporary country radio, the Statlers nevertheless own more personality and showmanship than a truckload of hat acts. Contact: 800-651-1535.—RW

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