T. Graham Brown is a country balladeer with a boogie bluesman's heart, and he more than lives up to his sizable live rep with this collection of past hits and jukebox standards. Brown knows his way around a Delta rave-up, as demonstrated by the rollicking "Happy Ever After" and the greasy "Memphis Women & Chicken." But he absolutely kills on the songs that "brought him to the party," such as the soulful powerhouse "I Tell It Like It Used to Be" and the romantic blues ballad "Hell and High Water." Brown's crack band and his muscular vocal style work well in a live setting, and such songs as the hard-hitting testimonial "Wine Into Water" thrive without the production overkill that weighed down studio incarnations. Horns, skillful picking, and an exuberant Brown make such songs as "Darlene," "Come as You Were," and a too-cool "Dock of the Bay" a party unto themselves without resulting to any studio trickery and remind us in the process what a stylist this artist remains. T. Graham Brown lives, indeed. Contact: 514-341-5600.—RW


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