REVIEW by Willard Manus

It's not pure blues, but TOWN AND COUNTRY has such a warm, bluesy feel to it that it's worth a mention here. The new CD showcases the veteran African-American country western singer, Butch Dubarri, who not only has a compelling voice but writes a mean lyric. Dubarri (and his partner Howard Yearwood) wrote all but one of the 13 cuts on the CD, and among these originals are some superior efforts befitting a man who has composed for the likes of Lynn Anderson and Wilson Pickett, among others.

"I grew up in a small mid-western town on the banks of the mighty, muddy Mississippi River," Dubarri recalls. "Both my mother and grandmother sang in church and it was there I first felt the power of music and its ability to move people.

"My career began in Junior High as a drummer and lead singer in a four-piece rock & roll band, and music has always been the one constant in my life. My musical background is varied, to say the least. I have written, recorded, sung and performed all types of music in all kinds of places, both here in the States and abroad. However, about ten years ago, at the end of a long-term relationship with big cities, I moved physically, spiritually and mentally to a small town in the mountains of northeast Kern County, California.

"From that day on, my writing and singing became more focused on lyrics and songs, with an honest real people theme. About a hundred tunes later, I felt it was time to make a record, one that, if possible, could reach across the schisms of age, race, gender or sophistication. Today's country music is reflective of the blend of tradition and diversity in modern American society. I call this special blend Town N' Country."

Dubarri is strong on ballads, but he can also make you whip your booty around on such hard-chargin' numbers as "Hard Man," "Crying Round the Clock" and "Baby Doll."

Galactic Records, 8306 Wilshire Blvd, #379, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, (310) 281-7395 or fax (310) 852-4926.