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Jim Roll -- Ready to Hang (One Man Clapping).   Originally from Chicago, singer/songwriter Jim Roll now makes his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan -- home of the Wolverines, where that Woodson guy won the Heisman over Tennessee's Peyton Manning [sound of needle scratching record].  Pardon my outburts, but some wounds never heal (especially for neurotically loyal football fans).  And as Roll points out in the first track on this auspicious debut, old lovers never really seem to leave your mind -- it's a nagging truism that none of us really want to acknowledge, I guess ("doesn't anybody understand me when I say / sometimes a new old love don't make that old old love go away").  This opening cut, "Old Love," is one of many great moments on this somewhat uneven record.  Roll, who sounds a little like a cross between Neil Young and Jay Farrar, is given excellent support by K.C. Groves (harmony vocals), Chris Casello (guitar), and Matt Combs (fiddle).  In "Never Gonna Dry (These Eyes)", Roll's romantic side comes out, even if it is in a back-handed fashion ("'Never give in to love,' he says / Must be easy to say when your wife is dead").  "My Savior" is a chugging gospel-rockabilly (what a great moaning fiddle!) worthy of the Man in Black himself -- a full-throttle boom-chicka-boom steam engine to the promsied land.   In the end, I think my impression of this record is clouded by Lunette, its successor, which I heard first.  This one is a keeper for a lot of reasons, but Lunette...  -TRS

Track listing:

1. Old Love (3:24)
2. Mary Ann (3:07)
3. Never Gonna Dry (These Eyes) (2:42)
4. Backseat (2:51)
5. The Fall (4:01)
6. Ready to Hang (3:54)
7. This Time (2:29)
8. Train (4:49)
9. My Savior (3:41)
10. Double Time (3:49)
11. She Said (4:14)
12. Another Lover (I Never Had) (3:15)
13. If I Was a Sailor (2:48)

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