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Domino Kings

The Back of Your Mind (Slewfoot)

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Those who've never heard of the Domino Kings will find it easy to accept The Back of Your Mind as a solid neotraditionalist country record. It's the group's loyal following that'll cuss some and wonder what's going on. In its previous incarnation as a trio, with Brian Capps' gorgeous croon and devilish acoustic bass, this Southwest Missouri group carved out a niche among those who loved both rockabilly madness and honky-tonk hard knocks. For good measure, the Kings threw in a refreshing helping of bar-band chutzpah -- the kind you need if you're going to make lake gigs work. With Capps' departure, and with guitarist Steve Newman taming his guitar fire (on the CD, anyway) to focus on his vocals, the Domino Kings have inched their country sound forward a decade or so -- 1967 sounds close.

Longtime listeners might need to take time for a few deep-breathing exercises before they accept the "new" Kings, with second guitarist Jimmy Ginnings and Fender bassist Bert Parnell. After all, Newman's monumentally sad "Hard Thing to Know" prominently features the Hammond B3, and drummer Les Gallier's "Show Me" slinks like a Dr. John track. Ginnings' "The Outlaw Song" would work fine on Stage III at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival, and "I Fell" would fit nicely on a Young Country show -- a Sunday show, during church time. By expanding its range, the group has made the most of a tricky lineup change. After a while, even diehard fans might forgive the Kings.

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