‘All a Man Should Do’
4 stars out of 5
For whatever reason, and I’m conceding that the fault is most likely mine, it took me longer than you might expect to fully embrace the alternative country stylings of Memphis-based outfit Lucero. It wasn’t until 2006’s terrific “Rebels, Rogues ad Sworn Brothers” that I finally got what the fuss was all about. I’ve been an unabashed fan ever since — even finding a new appreciation for their earlier material — and was thrilled when latest studio effort “All a Man Should Do” landed on my desk.
Coming three years after the jaw-droppingly good 2012 effort “Women & Work,” this 10-track, 43-minute release finds Lucero on top of their game. Frontman Ben Nichols has never been better a songwriter than he is here and the band sounds great behind him.
“I was 15 years old in 1989,” Nichols notes. “This record sounds like the record I wanted to make when I was 15. It just 25 years of mistakes to get it done.”
Lucero explode out of the gate with “Baby Don’t You Want Me,” “Went Looking for Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles” and “The Man I was,” and later score with “Can’t You Hear Them Howl,” “They Called Her Killer,” “Young Outlaws” and “My Girl and Me in ’93.” There’s even a nice cover of Big Star’s “I’m in Love With a Girl,” featuring backing vocals from Big Star’s Jody Stephens. I can ‘t recommend this one highly enough, y’all. (Jeffrey Sisk)