Robert Earl Keen
The Party Never Ends:
Songs You Know from the Times You Can't Remember
First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2003, Volume 10, #12
Written by John Metzger
The Party Never Ends: Songs You Know from the Times You Canít Remember isnít the soundtrack for a frat party, nor is it a greatest hits collection or a comprehensive examination of singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keenís early catalog. Then again, it doesnít try to be any of these things. Instead, it simply stands as both a terrific overview of Keenís time with the Sugar Hill label as well as a well-rounded and wonderful introduction to an artist who deserves far more attention than he generally receives.
Keenís latest endeavor Farm Fresh Onions certainly was a bit of a disappointment. Though he broke new ground musically, his songwriting faltered for the first time in his career. Perhaps thatís the real reason why he was so unhappy with the timing of The Party Never Endsí release. One listen to the compilation, and it highlights exactly where Farm Fresh Onions went sour. Granted, one could think of countless songs with inferior lyrics or more misguided melodies, but stacked next to the memorable moments from Keenís past ó of which there are far more than those featured on The Party Never Ends ó Farm Fresh Onions looks weak.
Thatís not to say that The Party Never Ends is perfect, either. Tracks like the silly chewing tobacco tale Copenhagen and the vegetarian hell of Barbecue are absolute throwaways. Certainly, there are better tunes from his catalog that could have stood in their place. Yet, it is easy to forgive Keen for these foibles when songs like Merry Christmas from the Family, Itís Just the Little Things, and Gringo Honeymoon work so damn well while demonstrating that thereís as much Loudon Wainwright drifting through his lyrics as there is Townes Van Zandt.
The Party Never Ends: Songs You Know from the Times
You Can't Remember is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box