Tommy Womack Stubborn

Womack's first solo album was a tasty roots pop effort, but Stubborn, his second, is a significant leap forward. "Up Memphis Blues" is rockin' twisted mutant Highway 61 blues, while "Urge To Call" captures both the joys and horrors of aimlessness. Co-writer Jason Ringenberg (Jason & the Scorchers) contributes background vocals to "Going Nowhere," and "Dreams And Golden Rivers" is a manic country rocker featuring a Presbyterian porn star. Even the serious songs like "She Likes To Talk" and "Willie Perdue," the tale of a budding, likeable athlete left brain-damaged after a beating, contains characters that have an endearing and uplifting resilience to them. Womack has been described as what Ray Davies would sound like if he'd lived in Nashville, a description that I've never thought of as overly accurate, but his version of the Kinkster's "Berkeley Mews," done up in killer roadhouse style, fits in perfectly with the originals and makes a case for that claim. (Sideburn)