Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Review: Dangerous Spirits

By Michael Bertin

RAY WYLIE HUBBARD

Dangerous Spirits (Philo)

SEPTEMBER 2, 1997:  It probably didn't take Ray Wylie Hubbard too long to come up with a title to his latest album. Dangerous Spirits is nothing if not outlaw -- outlaw with a spiritual bent. Adding one plus one ain't that tough, but here the resulting sum is an emotionally rich album that sounds pretty darn Texan, which is about as big of a compliment as you can give a native Oklahoman like Hubbard. He also helps his own cause by enlisting people such as Lucinda Williams, Lloyd Maines (who also co-produced the record), Tish Hinojosa, Jimmy Lafave, and Kevin Welch to lend their talents. They're just part of the supporting cast, however, since Dangerous Spirits is, in the most unassuming way, entirely Hubbard's album. It's filled with unrequited honesty, quiet surrender, and raw torment. But even in the most desolate moments, Hubbard and his thick never deprive his characters of hope. From the brutal truth of "Without Love (We're Just Wastin' Time)" to the frantic desperation of "Last Train to Amsterdam," Hubbard deftly rides the thin rails between loss and wonder. Dangerous alright, but well worth the trip.
3.5 Stars -- Michael Bertin


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