Balls

Balls

5.0 1
by Elizabeth Cook
     
 

After a quick listen to Balls, it's hard to imagine why Warner Brothers dropped Elizabeth Cook after only one album. Could she have sounded too traditional for country radio? Did they want her to tone down her in-your-face delivery? The mysteries of major labels are many and unfathomable, so suffice it to say that Cook is a major talent and will undoubtedly…  See more details below

Overview

After a quick listen to Balls, it's hard to imagine why Warner Brothers dropped Elizabeth Cook after only one album. Could she have sounded too traditional for country radio? Did they want her to tone down her in-your-face delivery? The mysteries of major labels are many and unfathomable, so suffice it to say that Cook is a major talent and will undoubtedly wind up with another major-label deal. Balls has the same power and charm evident on her earlier outings and the bonus of Rodney Crowell's sharp production talents. Every track crackles like a pork fat fueled barbecue fire, full of the spunk and sass that make Cook an artist to watch. "Times Are Tough in Rock 'N Roll" is a sly putdown of the mainstream music industry and a celebration of country roots driven by a traditional track that includes banjo, jew's harp (something you don't hear on many records these days, if ever) and fiddle. When she sings "All my feelings/All my fears/Were confirmed with Britney Spears" you've got to laugh out loud. Cook's been called a cross between Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, and a tune like "Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman" tells you that the comparisons aren't mere hyperbole. It's a honky tonk stomp that delineates the problems facing the fairer sex with good humor and sharp observations of the strength it takes to deal with the male ego. "What Do I Do" is Western swing in the style of Merle Haggard, a weeper that finds the singer torn between giving her heart away and walking away from a bad situation. Some nice Roy Nichols-style electric guitar fills add authenticity to the track. Cook's just as commanding on the album's ballads. "Down Girl" is as dark as anything Gillian Welch has written, "Rest Your Weary Mind," a duet with Bobby Bare, Jr., sounds like a hundred-year-old folk lament, while "Mama's Prayers" is a ringer for Parton's homespun Tennessee tales of tribulation. The most surprising track is "Sunday Morning," the Velvet Underground oldie transformed into a mournful ballad given extra melancholy by Matt Combs' fiddle work. Balls is a great album made by people who obviously love the grit and honesty of real music.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/01/2007
Label:
Thirty Tigers
UPC:
0775020787223
catalogNumber:
207872
Rank:
44799

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elizabeth Cook   Primary Artist
Rodney Crowell   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Nanci Griffith   Vocals
Richard Rodney Bennett   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Tim Carroll   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Juice Harp
Alison Prestwood   Bass
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Harry Stinson   Drums
Kenny Vaughan   Electric Guitar
Tim Lauer   Organ,Piano
Marcia Ramirez   Vocals
Matt Combs   Fiddle,Mandolin
Greg Davis   Banjo

Technical Credits

Rodney Crowell   Producer
Nanci Griffith   Author
John Cale   Composer
Lou Reed   Composer
Tim Carroll   Composer
Peter Coleman   Engineer
Melinda Schneider   Composer
Elizabeth Cook   Composer
Heather Dryden   Art Direction

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Balls 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an unbelievable follow up to her last album, "This Side of the Moon". I, for one, thought it would be very difficult for this super-talented singer/songwriter to ever top it not because I doubted her ability or creativity.........just because that record was so damn good. I couldn't have been more wrong. "Balls" is like Godfather II or Spiderman II: much better than the original. Give some credit to producer Rodney Crowell, but give Elizabeth tons of credit for her amazing lyrics and heartfelt vocals. This is a kind of country music that's hard to categorize, but it's the kind the very best of the genre are noted for: the likes of Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton and Dwight Yoakam. The common denominator is that they write their own stuff, and sing it with a kind of passion and intensity most popular singers never bring to their music. The title cut may get all the attention, and it's a helluva song. But, it's no better than 8th best on this album. Every listener will have personal favorites, but this will be a record most will want to play all the way through every time. It's fitting that the final track is a cover of Tim Carroll's superb "Always Tomorrow". Guess we've been put on notice that more and better stuff is on the way. I won't be a doubter this time. Only one complaint. Too bad the album didn't include a 12th track. The obvious oversight was a duet with Rodney Crowell of "Love Hurts". If you ever have the chance to hear them perform it live, you'll know what I mean. Buy this record, and if you don't already own "This Side of the Moon", pick that one up as well. If you're disappointed in the least, give them to someone with taste who can appreciate good country music. J.D. from Texas