Earl Poole Ball review…July 6, 2013…

EARL POOLE BALL

PIANOGRAPHY

TIN TUBE TUNES

WALL TO WALL MUSIC GROUP

STANDING AT THE END OF THE WORLD–PIANOGRAPHY (AND THEN SOME)–THE REAL ME–SAY YOU LOVE ME–ONE OF THOSE OLD THINGS (WE ALL GO THROUGH)–SING IT BOY–SOMETHING’S GONNA GET US ALL–IMPRESARIO: ROWDY TIMES RADIO SHOW–BIG RIVER–DOWN THE LINE–WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN–MEAN WOMAN BLUES–SECOND AND SAN ANTONE–FLOWERS ON PAPA’S GRAVE

 

Earl Poole Ball (Jr.) is indeed his family and birth name (and, yes, his father did run a pool hall!).  He learned piano from his aunt in Mississippi as a teen, going off to Houston with his father’s blessing in 1961 to answer his musical calling.  Since that time, he has affectionately been dubbed “Mr. Honky Tonk Piano,” and is perhaps best known as Johnny Cash’s piano player for the last twenty years of Cash’s career.  His latest album is entitled “Pianography,” and showcases not only his talents as a first-call pianist, but his writing skills as well.  He writes songs from the heart, that deal with the ups and downs of everyday life.  Also, there are cuts done in tribute to Johnny Cash, and two vintage cuts from 1967 and 1977.

The set starts with Earl “Standing On The Edge Of The World,” pondering “the secrets of a broken heart that are written on a worried mind.”  Earl and Julieann Banks revisit the classic country duets of Conway and Loretta on a song written by Earl and Jo-El Sonnier, “Say You Love Me.”  This one features some cool tuba-as-bass from Jon Blondell.  A man coping with the blows dealt him by life is the poignant subject of “Just One Of Those Old Things (We All Go Through),” and has a distinctive Mickey Gilley vibe, who was one of Earl’s early mentors.  The title cut is Earl’s autobiography, that finds him coming full-circle, from Mississippi to Texas to California to Tennessee and back to Texas, with its signature line, “and then some.”  Another cut that could’ve been his life story is “Sing It Boy,” about a honky-tonk singer who’s “helping me to remember what I came here to forget.”

Earl pays tribute to Johnny Cash with three rockin’ tunes, “Big River,” “Down The Line,” and “Mean Woman Blues,” along with a very bluesy read of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” all recorded live at Austin’s Emo’s club in 2010.  The two vintage cuts are a 1967 slice of rockabilly swing, “Second And San Antone,” and Earl’s somber tribute to his great-grandfather, “Flowers On Papa’s Grave.”  This one features an arrangement heavy with strings and backing vocals, done in the “countrypolitan” style popular back in 1977 when this one was cut.

Our favorite was easy.  Earl takes a tongue-in-cheek look at our own mortality with the minor-key lope of “Something’s Gonna Get Us All,” because “we’ll never get out of this world alive.”

We are officially “putting out an EPB” to all the fans of good ole rockin’ honky-tonk piano and down-to-earth lyrics that we can all relate to, and encourage everyone to grab a copy of Earl Poole Ball’s “Pianography” and…ENJOY!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

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