"Robin & Linda
In Fine Form 'Live'"

JULY 1, 1994
SINGER-GUITARISTS Robin & Linda Williams may be billed as a duo, but they perform in concert as a quartet. Backing the Shenandoah Valley couple are Jim Watson, a founding member of the Red Clay Ramblers, and Kevin Maul. On their recent studio recordings, the Williamses have made a deliberate shift from folk music to a mix of country and folk, and their new repertoire would never work live if it didn't have Watson's electric bass as an anchoring rhythm and Maul's hot dobro licks as dressing. You can hear how well it gels on "Live," the new album credited to Robin & Linda Williams and Their Fine Group.

The album was originally recorded during a series of shows in the Netherlands in 1992 and released on that nation's Strictly Country Records the same year. Finally released in the United States by Sugar Hill, "Live" begins with a jumpy version of the Delmore Brothers' "Pan American Boogie" and goes on to show off the group's fine vocal harmonies on several gospel numbers. Linda Williams's voice and Maul's dobro do a note-stretching duet on the lovely ballad standard, "Miss the Mississippi and You."

Old favorites like "Stone Wall Country" and "Don't Let Me Come Home a Stranger" are included, and the best of the new songs is Jack Logan's comic, banjo-driven "Herding Cattle in a Cadillac Coupe de Ville."

--Geoffrey Himes