Saturday Night / Sunday Morning
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|Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|In 1993, Dr. Ralph
Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys released the
stellar double-album Saturday Night & Sunday
Morning, with help from a slew of all-star guests.
It featured gospel, honky tonk, bluegrass, and folk
songs. Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives'
double-length set carries the same title and it's no
accident. Stanley's concept left a mark on him: though
timeless, the conflicted existence of the sinner/pilgrim
has not been articulated nearly often enough in 21st
century country music. This follows the excellent Gospel
Music of Marty Stuart documentary and recording
by five months and is very different in approach. Saturday
Night's pleasure and pain songs are updates
of heritage country song forms: honky tonk, blues,
boogie, and rockabilly The production balances the
modern and the classic. It contains none of pop
country's excesses, but thankfully doesn't feel retro,
either. Rockabilly strutter "Jailhouse," with Kenny
Vaughan's Telecaster snarling and spitting, is a disc
highlight, while "Geraldine" borrows simultaneously from
Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Charlie Musselwhite (with a
killer guest harmonica break from Mickey Raphael). Hank
Williams' "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome," with its biting
fiddle, ringing electric guitars, and swinging drums, is
simply masterful. George Jones' soulful ballad, "Old,
Old House," is a fine inclusion as well. Stuart's "Rough
Around the Edges" is a killer old-school drinking song
while "Sad House, Big Party" is an excellent roadhouse
boogie. The only real misstep on the disc is "Look at
That Girl," which apes Van Morrison's "Gloria" too
blatantly. Sunday Morning is Stuart's
vision for a 21st century country-gospel that melds the
intimacy of the rural Southern church with electric
blues honky tonk and the inspiration of the African
American Church. And it works. An obvious highlight is
"Uncloudy Day." Stuart was deeply moved by the Staple
Singers' late-'50s version, and Mavis Staples
accompanies him here in a resonant, reverential
treatment. "Boogie Woogie Down the Jericho Road" uses
the eternal John Lee Hooker riff as fuel for the
spiritual fire -- Harry Stinson's rim shots provide
further impetus. "That Gospel Music," with Vaughan on
lead vocals, contains upright piano and swaggering
guitar amid handclaps and a call and response backing
chorus. "The Gospel Way" is an electric blues waltz with
Barry Beckett's guest B-3 spot underscoring both church
and roadhouse, while "Mercy #1," with its four part
harmony, weds country, soul, and blues. Stuart's and
Stinson's "My God Will Make a Way for Me" is a stellar
modern hymn. Saturday Nigh t/ Sunday Morning
is ambitious even by Stuart's lofty standards. As a
whole it works, and well, not in its breadth, but in its
By Thom Jurek
|This September 30 release
is a double CD that follows closely behind Marty's July
4 American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart
photo book. The first disc, Saturday Night
(Rough Around the Edges) captures the feel of a
honky-tonkin' county music night. The second, Sunday
Morning (Cathedral) is appropriately gospel
Marty's longtime band, The Fabulous Superlatives (guitarist Kenny Vaughan, bassist Paul Martin, drummer Harry Stinson), and "invisible Superlative" engineer Mick Conley are up to the challenge.
Disc one is a cool song treasure-trove. The rockabilly-powred "Geraldine," the steel-drenched "Rough Around The Edges," iffy covers of "I'm Blue I'm Lonesome (Hank Williams) and "Old, Old House" (George Jones) plus the bluegrass rave-up "Streamline" are my current favorites.
Disc two favorites include the slow-but-stedy "Long Walk To Heaven," a short instrumental called "Good News," the crackling "Boogie Woogie Down The Jerico Road," the up-tempo "Merch #1" and the almost a cappella quartet number "Heaven."
This is a wonderful package for fans of traditional country and gospel music. [Five Stars]
By Ricky Flake
|Country music has always
been about Saturday night and Sunday morning, and Marty
Stuart’s latest offering of his singular version of the
music is organized around that duality. Saturday
Night / Sunday Morning is a double album.
Its first disc presents a roadhouse mix of high-test
honky-tonk (“Sad House, Big Party,” “I’m Blue I’m
Lonesome”), aching country (and country-soul, via a
sublime cover of Charlie Rich’s “Life Has Its Little Ups
and Downs”), trad sounds (“Rough Around the Edges”), and
rocking twang (“Look at That Girl”). Sunday
Morning picks up where Stuart’s superb Soul’s
Chapel left off, serving up Staples
Singers-infused gospel (including a cover of “Uncloudy
Day” with Mavis Staples), and more. Whether they’re
going secular or sacred, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous
Superlatives are simply a well-oiled juggernaut of
capaciously conceived twang. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “I’m Blue I’m Lonesome” (disc 1), “Heaven” (disc 2)
By Stuart Munro
|Marty Stuart’s new
two-disc album, Saturday Night / Sunday Morning,
salutes the convergence of country music and gospel. No
one understands this crossroads better than Stuart who
has been performing since he was 9 years old and is a
walking font of knowledge about the roots of country
Stuart kicks Saturday Night / Sunday Morning off with the revved-up rockabilly tunes “Jailhouse” and “Geraldine,” which lead into honky tonkers like Warner Mack’s “Talking to the Wall” and soulful versions of Charlie Rich’s “Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs” and George Jones’ “Old Old House.”
The sublime “Uncloudy Day” leads off the gospel side with the Fabulous Superlatives’ harmony singing front and center on “That Gospel Music,” “Angels Rock Me to Sleep” and “Mercy #1.” The hand-clapping church revival gets underway with “Keep on the Firing Line” and “Good News.”The genesis of the album began around nine years ago when Stuart recorded a version of “Uncloudy Day” with Mavis Staples. A year or so earlier before he went on stage for a show at FitzGerald’s, Mavis and her sister Yvonne presented Pops Staples’ guitar to Stuart, a close family and musical friend. He played the guitar on the recording.
By Mary Houlihan
|The concept album, while
still relatively present in rock music, is increasingly
rare in country music. Which is odd, considering that
Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger is one of
the finest examples of the form.
At any rate, Marty Stuart’s latest release with his Fabulous Superlatives, Saturday Night / Sunday Morning, delivers on the concept album premise by exploring the relationship between long nights out carousing and Sunday mornings in the pew across its two halves. By extension, it’s really all about the interplay between sin and salvation, the sacred and the profane, light and dark. Marty’s hard-twanging spin on country music is an ideal vehicle for both sides, finding that sweet spot where the excitement of a night on the town is not entirely unlike the fervor of a particularly intense Sunday worship service.
The two halves of the collection are cleverly bookended by the rowdy “Jailhouse,” less about an actual building than about spiritual/emotional prison, and “Heaven,” an exalting, angelic description of what awaits in the next life. Saturday Night sounds like a good time, with more up-tempo numbers, but sadness and loneliness are often the subject matter, as on the swinging, brokenhearted blues of “Geraldine,” the weepy honky-tonk of “When It Comes to Loving You” and the lively shuffle “Sad House Big Party.” The character in these songs is depressed as all get-out over a woman, roaming from bar to bar and state to state, as on “Streamline,” which features some lightning-fast guitar work from Tommy Emmanuel.
The Sunday Morning half is decidedly more reverent, leading off with a deep, soulful take on “Uncloudy Day” led by Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers and Marty playing a guitar he got from Pops Staples. This half of the album doesn’t attempt to wipe away all the struggles of the Saturday Night half. With songs like “Long Walk to Heaven,” it presents life as frequently tough and painful and the reward as what’s waiting in the end. By the last couple of songs, there’s joy: the penultimate track, “Cathedral,” is a gospel rave-up complete with the soulful shouts of Pastor Evelyn Hubbard, followed by the angelic strains of “Heaven.”
When you feel like cutting loose, just start it all over again.
By Jon Freeman
|He is the Renaissance man
of country music, but it’s always a treat when Marty
Stuart takes time out from his work as a historian,
photographer and songwriter to record another batch of
authentic, true-to-life country songs. And as usual he
delivers beyond expectations, with a two-disc set
featuring 23 tracks.
|Five time Grammy winner
Marty Stuart's double CD, Saturday Night / Sunday
Morning, features a disc of rowdy fun-loving
songs and a disc of cross-bearing songs. Typical
of the offerings on his weekly television show, the
"Marty Stuart Show." The disc also features his band,
The Fabulous Superlatives.
The last "Saturday" track features Australian guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel, hailed by other musicians and critics as one of the world's greatest pickers. "Streamline" spotlights the Aussie and the Mississippian, two of the finest guitarists, on a wild, exciting and fast-moving offering.
Everyone involved is alive-and-kicking. It can easily be said that this cut is worth the price of admission. The songs on both CD's are, for the most part, rather abbreviated. Only a few of them are as fun as the offerings on Stuart's RFD-TV hosted show.
"Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs," is a downer, lyrically, but the foursome adds heart-and-soul into this sad, but pretty tale. Otherwise, "Saturday Night" is not a particularly wild night.
"Sunday Morning," of course, is a different story, and more interesting than the night before. One of the best tracks is "Boogie Woogie Down the Jericho Road." You won't find that in the hymnal. It is a fun, toe-tapping item.
If your taste runs to rock gospel, try "Keep Your Feet On the Firing Line."
"Sunday Morning" is the best of this twosome and, perhaps, that is as it should be.
Download "Streamline," "Cathedral," "Boogie Woogie Down the Jericho Road"
By Frank Roberts
multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Marty Stuart
has harbored a enjoyment of country music and its past
practitioners from his earliest days — Stuart joined
bluegrass legend Lester Flatt’s band at age 14 — and has
come to be a steward of sorts of its classic sound.
For his 16th studio album, Stuart has chosen to release a modestly priced two-disc set. The Saturday Night disc consists of secular nation tunes, though Sunday Morning is a collection of gospel songs. In spite of thematic differences, the two discs aren’t that far apart musically. Both feature lively backing from Stuart’s razor-sharp backing band, the Fabulous Superlatives, as nicely as Stuart’s impeccable guitar playing and attractive tenor.
Saturday Night can only be described as hard-rocking country. Guitars from Stuart and bandmate Kenny Vaughan sparkle on a brace of up-tempo originals with the spirit of rockabilly and the drive of rock ’n’ roll. These contain “Geraldine” (co-written with ex-NRBQ leader Al Anderson), “Sad House, Big Party” and “Look At That Girl,” which involve liberal musical quotes from Van Morrison’s “Gloria.”
Between feisty rockers, Stuart mixes very carefully selected covers of vintage 1960s nation ballads such as Warner Mack’s “Talking to the Walls,” George Jones’ “Old, Old House” and the Hank Williams-Bill Monroe collaboration “I’m Blue I’m Lonesome.”
It’s marvelous from start out to finish.
Sunday Morning pays tribute to two types of gospel — somber, spiritual numbers and rocking up-tempo shouters — from “Heaven” and “My God Will Make A Way For Me,” which Stuart sings with reverence, to Boogie Woogie Down The Jericho Road” and the sizzling “Keep On The Firing Line.”
“Uncloudy Day,” a duet with Mavis Staples applying only Stuart’s electric guitar as backing, is Sunday Morning’s standout. But Stuart’s lustrous production shines throughout each discs, rendering each instrument with unusual clarity.
Saturday Night is stronger overall than Sunday Morning, but both are nicely worth hearing — and by far more than just nation music fans. [3-1/2 Stars]
|Like a cowboy with a
devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, Marty
Stuart dances through both sides on his new double-disc
release. No one has embraced and preserved all of
Nashville's traditions like Stuart. He's like the cool
professor who makes history feel vibrant, essential and
new. Here, he and his Fabulous Superlatives whip up a
clinic of all the varied influences the genre is built
On the first disc, Saturday Night, lessons include the rumbling reverberation of "Jailhouse," rockabilly stomp and spitting lyrics of "Geraldine" and the steel guitar-driven honky-tonk shuffle of Warner Mack's "Talking to the Wall." Come Sunday Morning, the attention turns to gospel, with the band's chorus resonating over Mavis Staples' passionate testimony on the Staples Singers' "Uncloudy Day." On the instrumental "Good News," it's Stuart's electric guitar that's testifying over a bouncy riff.
By Erik Ernst
I was born in February of 1974. So,
by virtue of that fact, I never got to witness the
synergy of Buck Owens, Don Rich, Doyle Holly, Tom
Brumley, and Willie Cantu as the most legendary set of
Buckaroos from 1964-1967. That sad fact aside, I will
tell you what comes as close it gets to that type of
sonic and live perfection – seeing a show from Marty
Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. Just like with
The Buckaroos, any of the Superlatives could very well
be a solo star in their own right (and each has
released albums on their own), but put them all
together and the sum is greater than any of its’ parts
– lead singer included (and Stuart would totally agree
with that description).
By Chuck Dauphin
|Marty Stuart’s latest
album is something of a departure. It is really a double
album: one disc, representing Saturday Night,
mixes a return to the kind of energized country rock he
was doing in the 90s with the more traditional country
of recent albums; the second, for Sunday Morning,
is gospel – not the country gospel of his other gospel
album this year, but Southern church gospel.
Of the rocking country songs, the driving ‘Jailhouse’ (a metaphor for a bad marriage) which opens is by far the best. ‘Sad House, Big Party’ is also pretty good. The rockabilly ‘Geraldine’ is a bit too loud and busy for me, although the performance is committed and it’s fairly catchy. The echoey ‘Look At That Girl’ is definitely too loud, and boring besides, and I didn’t like it at all.
There are several effective covers of classic country songs, which are among my favorites. I liked a wailing version of ‘I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome’ (written by Hank Williams and Bill Monroe), complete with train whistle effects to illustrate the song’s imagery.
Best of all is a lovely sensitive cut of an obscure George Jones song, ‘Old, Old House’, with lovely steel. Marty and the band do another great job on the less well remembered ‘Talking To The Wall’, written by Warner Mack and recorded by Loretta Lynn among others.
His soulful version of Charlie Rich’s sultry ‘Life Has Its Little Ups And Down’ is also excellent, but I wasn’t as keen on the blues of ‘Streamline’ which closes disc 1, although the band plays with real virtuosity.
‘Rough Around The Edges’ is a great honky tonker written by Marty himself about a man whose honky tonk lifestyle is caching up with him. ‘When It Comes To Loving You’ is a mid-paced ballad about helplessly loving one who has left and is another very fine new Stuart song, but the instrumentation is a bit loud at times, occasionally swamping the excellent vocal.
Disc 2 is clearly a labour of love; but it has little to offer the country fan. I did quite like ‘Boogie Woogie Down The Jericho Road’ and the slow ‘Long Walk To Heaven’. If you like traditional Southern gospel do check it out, as it’s very well performed with guests including gospel legend Mavis Staples. However, I doubt I’ll be revisiting it as it’s just not the kind of music I choose to listen to.
I rather wish the two projects had not been conceived of as a pair, but released as separate albums. The Saturday Night section is some of the best music Marty has ever made; Sunday Morning is very well done, but it’s not country.
Grade: Disc 1 A+
Disc 2: B+
By Occasional Hope
|Marty Stuart connects
with the country music history he assiduously re-creates
on this year's excellent Saturday Night / Sunday
Morning full-length -- the Mississippi-born
singer and guitarist takes the record's time-honored
secular-religious concept into rock 'n' roll territory.
Over the years, Stuart and his group The Fabulous
Superlatives have proven themselves a great electric
guitar band, and Saturday Night / Sunday Morning
sports superb interplay between ax men Kenny Vaughan and
Stuart himself. They have fun with Stuart and Al
Anderson's "Geraldine," and deliver George Jones' "Old,
Old House" with flair. Meanwhile, Stuart's "When It
Comes To Loving You" features chord changes borrowed
from Cowboy Jack Clement's trick bag. The Sunday
Morning half of the two-disc set finds
Stuart and his band rocking out in gospel mode -- the
guitars are sharp, and the groove is surprisingly tough.
One of Stuart's best records to date, Saturday
Night / Sunday Morning avoids the
temptations of retro and Stuart makes his history lesson
By Edd Hurt
|"A few years ago, I
rededicated myself to traditional country music," Marty
told Billboard. "We spent some time in RCA
Studios in Nashville, where so much of modern country
was created, and we worked to imitate that style of
production and songwriting." Stuart, who started his
musical career by playing in the band of the legendary
The set is conceived as two albums, Saturday Night – Rough Around The Edges, as well as the Gospel disc Sunday Morning - Cathedral, which will serve as a sequel to the 2008 disc Souls' Chapel. Joining Stuart on the latter is Mavis Singers on "Uncloudy Day." The album features Stuart's crack band, The Fabulous Superlatives.
|September 2, 2014|
|More than just an exploration of two genres (traditional country on one disc and gospel music on the other), the new double album from Stuart is a tremendously entertaining continuation of his dedication to American music and a testament to the indisputable fact that he has one of the best bands working in any genre today. With disc two, Stuart and group's gospel tunes are sure to generate a lot of buzz, if only by virtue of the many artists who influenced them. "The way we got to know each other, as people and as musicians and singers, was gospel music," Stuart tells Rolling Stone Country, noting that when the band was formed he brought the music of the Staples Singers (who appear on the track "The Uncloudy Day"), Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and Jerry and Tammy Sullivan to the mix. The band's other members also contributed their passion for such gospel legends as the Dixie Hummingbirds and Sister Rosetta Thorpe.|
|I don’t know how Marty
Stuart does it. He’s like Gandalf on the back of his
white steed, galloping here and there and everywhere in
his pursuit to save country music. He’s scouring the
country to secure important country music artifacts for
preservation. He’s opening a cultural center in his
hometown. He’s starring in The Marty Stuart Show
and touring constantly. And here he is releasing a
double album through his Superlatone record label.
Saturday Night / Sunday Morning unfolds just like its title implies. The first album is the secular country music fare you’ve come used to hearing from Marty Stuart with his mainstay backing band of recent years The Fabulous Superlatives, where the telecasters are loud and twangy, and the style is honky tonk and traditional. Then the second album unfolds very much like you would expect if you’ve heard Marty Stuart and the Superlatives perform their version of rocking country Gospel and a cappella compositions with their captivating four-part harmonies. It’s Gospel, but it’s Marty Stuart Gospel. It’s electric, with a vitality and energy not always heard in the discipline.
Like his mentor Johnny Cash, as Marty Stuart has grown older, he’s evidenced an increasingly deeper appreciation for Gospel music. Most any Marty Stuart album is going to boast a Gospel song or two, but with this release he takes the time to make an entire album of religiously-inspired music. Marty actually released another Gospel album called The Gospel Music of Marty Stuart somewhat quietly in April that includes live performances of many recognizable Gospel songs regularly performed on The Marty Stuart Show. But Saturday Night / Sunday Morning is Stuart putting his personal stamp on Gospel, and making sure to serve both sides of his fan base by not just including Gospel songs exclusively.
If you think about it, this strategy is pretty smart. Unfortunately, some listeners are turned off when they hear an album is only going to include religious material. You combine two albums together, and you can lead right into it since folks are already listening. It’s like your mother giving you sugar with the medicine. Next thing you know, you’re appreciating the Gospel music just as much as Marty’s other stuff, if not more.
Saturday Night / Sunday Morning should not be considered a concept album. There’s no deep-seated story with recurring characters or themes referenced throughout like Marty’s landmark concept album The Pilgrim from 1999. The two albums are more just a style and approach delineation, though like all of Marty’s music, there are still important themes and messages to heed, hard lessons learned, harrowing stories, and personal awakenings to be had amongst these 23 new tracks.
Marty gives us a lot of music to crunch through in this release, and a lot of notable appearances. Included on Saturday Night / Sunday Morning beyond the Fabulous Superlatives is Hall of Famer Hargus “Pig” Robbins on piano, who makes appearances throughout the Saturday Night album. Both Hargus and and Willie Nelson’s long-time harmonica player Mickey Raphael pretty much carry the second song “Geraldine.” The great Mavis Staples makes an important appearance to begin the Sunday Morning portion of the release, lending her vocal talents to the classic “Uncloudy Day.” And Evelyn Hubbard also shows up on the Gospel album. Who is Evelyn Hubbard you ask? Well she’s a pastor at the Commerce Missionary Baptist Church in Robinsonville, Mississippi of course.
Saturday Night / Sunday Morning begins with Marty Stuart reviving the sound that has graced his records since enlisting the Superlatives as his backing band. Though people talk about the great guitar-slinging frontmen of country music today like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban, the combination of Marty Stuart and “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan makes for about the best Telecaster-based country music you can find these days, and based not just off of technique, but off of tone and taste. Since Saturday Night is chased by Gospel, Marty and the boys put the pedal down on the first album and rarely let off. Think of old school honky tonk country rock.
The middle of this album gets just a little bit sleepy. There’s a decent amount of covers on this record, and in stretches you feel like Marty is doing a little too much interpreting of old song styles than offering more original-sounding material like on recent albums. But there’s not a slouch anywhere on this track list either.
Sunday Morning continuously builds toward the end of the album, to where the brilliant four part harmonies of Marty, “Cousin” Kenny, “Handsome” Harry Stinson, and “Apostle” Paul Martin unfold into some brilliant, and spine-tingling works of inspirational music. For years the foursome has been performing one of the best renditions of “Angels Rock Me To Sleep” ever bestowed to human ears, and we finally get a recorded version of this masterpiece. And the album resolves in the mostly-a cappella original “Heaven” that is so haunting and touching, it should be considered one of the essential recordings of Marty Stuart’s entire career.
Once again Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives prove they are at the core of keeping the traditions of country music alive, while doing so in a manner that is energetic, inviting, informed, and broad-based where people of all stripes—the Saturday night and Sunday morning people—can come together and enjoy the gift of good country music together.
1-3/4 of 2 Guns Up.
|It’s possible there will
be a more enjoyable country-music album released this
year than Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives’ Saturday
Night / Sunday Morning. ” It’s also possible
there will be a more enjoyable gospel music album
released this year. But it’s unlikely there will be a
better country and gospel music album than Saturday
Night / Sunday Morning.
A two-disc, 23-song tour de force, it does justice to both styles, while underscoring the heartfelt passion that fuels country and gospel at their best. That’s not surprising, though, given the unique artistic pedigree of Stuart. The former son-in-law of Johnny Cash, with whom he toured for the first half of the 1980s, Stuart was only 13 when he began playing in the band of bluegrass pioneer Lester Flatt in 1972.
He is also such a good friend of gospel-music legend Mavis Staples, who is featured on his new album, that she gave him a vintage Fender Stratocaster guitar that belonged to her late father, the even more legendary Pops Staples. Stuart plays it on “Uncloudy Day,” the 1959 Staple Singers’ classic that opens the Sunday Morning portion of his new double album.
Stuart and The Staples Singers recorded together in 1994, when they collaborated on a terrific version of "The Weight" by The Band.
Like Stuart’s concerts, Saturday Night / Sunday Morning expertly embraces country, gospel, rockabilly, boogie-woogie, blues and Texas-swing with equal skill and vigor. Stuart and his band were terrific when they played here last year in Poway with Rock Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn, who embraced his musical heritage with The Byrds more fully with Stuart than he ever has on his own.
By George Varga
|Rocking From Barstool To
The title of Marty Stuart's two-disc album originates in a longstanding Southern paradox: the notion of raising hell, boozing, and partying on Saturday night, usually in a barroom or dancehall -- then shaking it off for a worshipful Sunday of church and fellowship.
Working with his Fabulous Superlatives -- guitarist Kenny Vaughan, bassist Paul Martin and drummer Harry Stinson -- and joined by select guests, Stuart creates an effective tapestry spanning both worlds, with consistent sound and feel. Most songs are Stuart originals; others are traditional numbers of smartly chosen overs.
Saturday Night opens with "Jailhouse," a churching Chuck Berry-inspired ditty with fiery guitar interplay between Stuart and Vaughan. The explosive, raw rockabilly of "Geraldine" features infectious riffs with an aded attraction -- guest Mickey Raphael playing the Little Walter-style blues harp he seldom gets to play with Willie Nelson.
Stuart delivers "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome," co-written by Bill Monroe and Hank Williams, Sr. This version is amplified yet retains the haunting feel of Monroe's 1950 original. He unleashes Clarence White's string-bending Tele in the middle, quickly answered by Vaughan.
"Rough Around The Edges" has the feel of Jerry Lee Lewis' '60's honky-tonk ballads, complete with a camera by Lewis fiddler Kenny Lovelace. While Stuart's original "Look At That Girl" has the '60s rock feel, there others are country tunes from that decade: the obscure 1965 George Jones ballad "Old, Old House," Warner Mack's 1966 hit "Talking To The Wall" (with Gary Carter's pedal steel and veteran Nashville A-Team pianist Pig Robbins), and Charlie Rich's classic 1969 ballad "Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs." The acoustic rocker "Streamline" featuring guest picker Tommy Emmanuel ends the disc.
The timeless Staple Singers hymn "Uncloudy Day" begins Sunday Morning with harmonies from Mavis Staples and Stuart playing haunting Pop Staples-style reverb-and tremolo-drenched chords on Pop's own Tele.
On the slower tunes, especially "Heaven," "Angels Rock Me To Sleep," and "Long Walk To Heaven," Stuart's passionate vocals are telling reminders of his deep gospel roots. But he rocks hard as well, especially on "Boogie Woogie Down The Jericho Road," riven by John Lee Hooker riffs.
That's also the case on Vaughan's vocal showcase "That Gospel Music," "Cathedral," the instrumental "Good News," and the traditional "Keep On The Firing Line" sung by Martin. Stuart and Vaughan, both powerful pickers, crete shimmering textures behind the vocals.
Stuart and the Superlatives have worked together long enough to develop an intuitive cohesion both onstage and in the studio. This is, without question, his most ambitious effort in some time, and one that succeeds -- from barstool to pew -- without once losing its jour or fervor.
By Rich Kiezle