Producer: Randy Shelnut and Randy “Scoot” Shelnut, Jr.
Label: Independent Release
It’s been about 3 years since the Dixie Echoes have released a new recording and this was well worth the wait. There are only a handful (if that!) of groups who can pull off this type of recording. With the bare necessities and no stacks, the Dixie Echoes show they are perfectly comfortable in this environment. With emphasis on the vocals, they have released one of their best recordings in recent years.
With a happy fiddle and steel intro, the Texas Swing feel of “WE’LL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY” gets the recording off and running before moving on to the classic quartet sounds of the title song, “CAN’T HARDLY WAIT”.
The tempo slows down for the true treasure from this recording as “Scoot” sings “HE IS THE ONLY ONE”. This is definitely the musical highlight of the recording and is one of “Scoot’s finest performances ever recorded.
The tempo kicks back up for a remake of a Dixie Echoes classic from the early 1980s, “DIG A WELL” and the group does a splendid job before turning in a toned down rendition of the Statesmen classic, “GET AWAY JORDAN”. I love this rendition…I hear a strong Swanee River Boys influence on this arrangement!
Tenor, Stephen Adair, sings the snappy, “I KNOW” before slowing things down for a dramatic rendition of the classic, “I’D RATHER HAVE JESUS”.
The tempo picks back up for the happy little number, “I AM THE MAN” before slowing back down again for another quartet classic, “OVER THE MOON”.
The recording closes out with a Dixie Echoes classic from the late 1980s, “WALKIN’ ON”. Starkly different from the original barn barner, I like what they’ve done with it. It took some time to grow on me because I was so used to the original. I love the guitar work on the song and Randy’s more subdued rendition. Again, I sense a Swanee River Boys inspired arrangement here.
I have alluded to it a couple of times in the review, and I could be wrong; but I hear a heavy influence of the Swanee River Boys throughout the whole recording. This is Southern Gospel, Easy Listening at its finest. It’s not the slickest recording released, but it’s a classy piece of work and showcases just what these guys can do. It’s one of my favorite releases from 2017 and well worth adding it to your collection!
(stars denote personal favorites)
We’ll Understand it Better By and By**
Can’t Hardly Wait
He is the Only One**
Dig a Well
Get Away Jordan**
I’d Rather Have Jesus
I am the Man**
Over the Moon