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Seven Decades

Hank Thompson
Seven Decades
Hightone Records

There are two ways to approach the onset of age--with dignity and eyes turned heavenward toward the Great Perhaps waiting at the end of the trail or in scandalous old-goat style. Well, Hank Thompson is the man who wrote a song called "The Older the Violin, the Sweeter the Music." Thompson's "Wild Side of Life" was the record that provoked Kitty Wells' answer song about the honky-tonk angels, and his 1959 "Cocaine Blues" is so sulfurous that few country-music stations touch it even today. Seven Decades is an all-new selection of 13 tunes showing this elderly inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame still in strong clear voice. "Sting in This Ole Bee" sets the tone for the album, claiming that if, indeed, there is honey in the flower, he is the bee to discover it. Terri Hendrix and Lisa Stricklin's fake-out Carter Sisters vocals add a holy tone to Thompson's cover of Tex Williams' fire-in-the-whorehouse anthem "The Night Miss Nancy Ann's Hotel for Single Girls Burned Down." But Thompson also gets a tenderer note going in "New Wine in Old Bottles"--not a Christian tune, but a love song. (Richard von Busack)

Swimming in Champagne

Eric Heatherly
Swimming in Champagne
Mercury Records

With his sexy '50s sensibilities and twangy country songs flavored with influences from Roy Orbison to the Ventures, Eric Heatherly is more of a hipster rockabilly cat than a cowboy. Currently known for his cover of the Statler Brothers' hit "Flowers on the Wall," this young singer and guitarist shows real promise. His debut offers an engaging mixture of rebellion ("I Just Break 'Em"), romance ("Swimming in Champagne") and humor ("Wrong Five O'Clock," "Someone Else's Cadillac"). Full of regret, "One Night" takes a fresh approach to cheating songs. "WhyDon'tCha" sounds like an answer to Dusty Springfield's "I Only Wanna Be With You" and demonstrates a similar pop flair. Taking a dangerous turn, "She's So Hot" scorches with the lyrics "Well she doesn't warm up 'til the sun goes down/Struts her stuff out on the prowl/She's got legs for a country mile/And those pouty lips make a dead man smile." Heatherly performs at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Friday (July 28) at 5pm. The concert is free with admission. (Sarah Quelland)

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From the July 27-August 2, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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