Asleep at the Wheel & Leon Rausch, "It's a Good Day"

Album Review

Whether you're a die-hard or casual fan of Asleep at the Wheel, one thing is certain: Everything this act has ever released is simply spectacular. And the veteran western swing band's latest album, "It's a Good Day" is no different. The set casts its spotlight on longtime Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys lead singer Leon Rausch, an icon of the genre in his own right. At 81, Rausch's voice remains supple and remarkably sure-footed as he works out with Benson's troupe on such jazz and swing standards as "Cotton Patch Blues," "Osage Stomp" and "Basin Street Blues." The diamond here is Willie Nelson's collaboration on "Truck Driver's Blues," considered to be country music's first anthem for truckers (written by Ted Daffan and recorded by Cliff Bruner in 1939). The band's familiar swing/boogie "Get Your Kicks (On Route 66)" also takes on new life with Rausch and Asleep at the Wheel vocalist Elizabeth McQueen. As they say on the rural route, there ain't a dud in the bunch.