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Never the hippest of country groups, the Oak Ridge Boys do their damnedest to give themselves some kind of an edge on their 2009 comeback The Boys Are Back. Technically, the Boys never went away, they just started singing gospel, disappearing from the major-label secular country scene sometime after 1992. They make up for the long wait between records by overcompensating greatly, hiring Shooter Jennings to write the repetitive chant of the title track, singing Neil Young's "Beautiful Bluebird," and, most bizarrely, covering the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," transposing the ominous thudding riff to voice and piano. This stab at coolness -- an attempt to replicate Johnny Cash singing Nine Inch Nails -- misses the mark by a mile because the Boys show little understanding of what makes the song, and more distressingly, what makes the group tick, either. This isn't the only grand misfire on The Boys Are Back -- the group fumble through John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" where Richard Sterban's saucy delivery sounds distressingly like a randy Mr. Ed -- and tellingly, whenever the group stumble it's when they try too hard to get loose and funky, because that's not really who the Oak Ridge Boys are. They're a friendly, charmingly cornball country group, sounding best not when they're attempting to swagger, but when they're singing ambling novelties or ballads. There's enough of that here to make The Boys Are Back a fitfully entertaining comeback...but it's just enough to make it clear there should have been more of this kind of sweetly silly stuff, not less.
Performance CreditsOak Ridge Boys Primary Artist
Jessi Colter Piano
Fred Mandel Piano,Keyboards
Robby Turner Guitar,Steel Guitar
Jason Cope Guitar
Ted Kamp Bass
Dave Cobb Bass,Guitar,Percussion
Chris Powell Drums
Technical CreditsJohn Lee Hooker Composer
Neil Young Composer
Duane Allen Arranger,Executive Producer,Author
Joe Bonsall Arranger,Author
Dallas Frazier Composer,Author
William Lee Golden Arranger,Author
Ethan Johns Composer
Paul Kennerley Composer,Author
Ray LaMontagne Composer
Richard Sterban Arranger,Author
George Teren Composer
Greg Gordon Engineer
Lew Jones Author
Jack White Composer
Shooter Jennings Composer,Author
Jamey Johnson Composer,Author
Dave Cobb Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Brent Cobb Composer,Author
Glenn Ashworth Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a fan of the Oak Ridge Boys for 30+ years, I was surprised and even a bit concerned when I learned the this CD would include a cover of the White Stripes "Seven Nation Army". I went to youtube and watched a video of the grammy winning song and simply said, "no way". I now have this CD in my hands and on my ipod and I have to tell you, I find myself listening to 7NA over and over again. The whole CD is wonderful, and the Oak Ridge Boys have taken their fans - folks like me - on a great adventure. Every song highlights something I love about the Oak Ridge Boys. The Boys are Back is simply fun music, in the mode of Bobbie Sue & Elvira. Hold Me Closely features a soulful lead and wonderful background voices. Hold You In My Arms is quirky and fits perfectly for tenor Joe Bonsall. Seven Nation Army is simply fun - better than the White Stripes version - the bass singer vocalizing the guitar work is something only the Oak's Richard Sterban could do. Mama's Table is a stroll down memory lane and being home, a signature song for Duane Allen. Boom Boom is again a fun song that gives the Boys the opportunity to have fun. You Ain't Gonna Blow My House Down presents the Boys faith in Christ and is a wonderful presentation of four distinct voices. Beautiful Bluebird is my favorite song on the CD ... perfectly suited for William Lee Golden. God's Gonna Ease My Troublin' Mind is another opportunity to hear four part harmony at it's best - in a gospel song. Live With Jesus is also on the Gospel Journey CD & DVD produced by Bill Gaither. This song is a joy because it gives Joe the opportunity to play the banjo. As a devoted Oak Ridge Boys fan, I give this CD my 100% endorsement. It is a wonderful presentation of four veteren voices with a contemporary production. Enjoy!
I saw the OAKS on a special that was on Direct TV in December. They were singing the songs on their new album as well as Elvira and Trying to Love Two Women, which were sadly missing on this album. Mamma's Table brings back memories to which we seniors can relate. Another new song, Seven Nation Army has a catchy beat as well as some stirring words. Both of these songs maybe won't become as memorable as Elvira, but will definitely be among their fans' favorites. I have an income tax service and like to have background music playing in my office during tax appointments. This provides a sound barrier when more than one client is in my small office and also creates a calming atmosphere for taxpayers who are sometimes nervous during their appointment. The Oak Ridge Boys' popularity crosses several generations and this album, "The Boys Are Back" is a perfect choice for my background music as my clients range from 2 years old - 93 years old. If you are an Oaks fan, you, too, will surely like this one.
Great album. Worth the wait!