Betty Soo and Doug Cox in Across The Borderline: More Lies have their follow-up to the equally finely tuned recording, Across The Borderline: Lie To Me and like before not only do they share each other’s company in the recording studio but their great love and appreciation of great songs.
Here we have the duo run a wide gamut of work from songwriters as Woody Guthrie, Amy Allison and George Harrison line up alongside those from Soo’s home state of Texas, David Halley, Jo Carol Pierce and adopted Texan Jerry Jeff Walker. Performed, simply with only acoustic and resophonic guitar for support and on one track, Allison’s ‘Everybody Thinks You’re An Angel’ accordion (Soo) as Cox takes on the role as lead vocalist. His range though limited it suits the song well enough. He also fronts on their rendition of Ramsey’s ‘Angel Eyes’ that again is low-key only this time has Soo lend harmony vocals as Cox shuffles, rustic fashion through the lyrics. Meanwhile Charlie Faye – Trent Summar’s song ‘Heartaches And The Old Pains’ with Cox on brass slide guitar and harmony vocals underlines he is better on harmony vocals than lead —plus, Soo as she does on a number of occasions puts on a faultless show on lead vocals. Great stuff, girl!
Soo does the honours in wonderful style lead on the remaining cuts, and though simplistically she has a charming manner to her work (as does Cox on resophonic guitar), and with a beautiful understated feel hits home on Pierce’s ‘Loose Diamond’, Jerry Jeff’s wondrous piece ‘Morning Song To Sally’ —that ranks among the best not only from him, but to come from all those of his trade. As good as his famed song ‘Mr. Bojangles even! With this the 100th anniversary of Oklahoma’s favourite son Woody Guthrie it is only fitting they cover not one of his songs, but two. First we have the gritty, ‘Vigilante Man’ (that has shades of one of Hank Williams’ songs to it) followed by one of my all-time own favourites from the great man, ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’. Done, as all the songs are with taste it is a keeper. As are the couple as duo who may never get the listener excited but hold their attention through the deft turns in emotion, tempo and clever use of depth of emotion. As is on the mid-tempo piece ‘Blackwing Butterfly’ (that enjoys some fine playing from them both) and the dark, tragic ode ‘Blood Like Yours’ (O’Brien) and finally, there is the bravest effort of the album. I am talking Harrison’s wistful instrumental, ‘While My Guitar Weeps’ —what a tune, and what a sympathetic performance.
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