Bekka Bramlett has a mystical effect on me. She always has, even as backing singer for Faith Hill, or dueting with Sam Moore, Billy Burdette or Joe Cocker. But like her mother before her, soul sensation Bonnie Bramlett, and her daddy Delaney for that matter, she mesmerizes me with that God given gift of a voice. Her solo on “What Happened” was the first track I dropped the cyber needle on after opening up the new Imus Ranch Record, a CD fundraiser for radio icon Don Imus’ Ranch, a beautiful place for children suffering with cancer, blood disorders or the loss of a sibling from SIDS. The Ranch gives these kids the full on cowboy experience, and at least for a while, helps them forget their troubles.
Bekka’s track is only the tip of the iceberg on this joyous musical gift. There are just plain wonderful tracks here from John Hiatt (“Welfare Music”), Patty Loveless (“Silver Springs”), Delbert McClinton (“Lay Down Sally”), and Lucinda Williams turns in an excellent reading of country classic “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.”
Imus has assembled an absolutely stunning collection that boasts superstar talent such as Willie Nelson, Little Richard, Randy Travis (singing a beautiful “I Don’t See Me in Your Eyes Anymore”), Dwight Yoakam (Rocking out on Doug Sahm’s “Give Back the Key to My Heart”), and Levon Helm.
One of the coolest tracks is Big & Rich knocking the wind out of The Beastie Boys hit, “You’ve Got to Fight for Your Right to Party.” John and Big Kenny never fail to pull out musical surprises that just plain work.
Vince Gill and Patty Loveless close the album in style with “Satisfied Mind.” Beautiful vocal harmonies wrap up one heck of a good album. This one will stay in my changer for quite a while. Not a bad track on the album. Buy it. Help the Ranch. Help the kids. That’s what life is all about.
- Michael Buffalo Smith