“South Texas Saturday Night,” the opening track on the album Current readers chose as the best local release of the year1, pretty much says it all: “We just wanna play some rock ’n’ roll tonight … Bring along the kids, they’ll enjoy it too/ Bring along your parents, they’ve been good to you.” You don’t need comparisons to Peter, Paul & Mary, or the Mamas & Papas to know the misleadingly named Tim & Bob Show (comprising Steve and Kathy Feinstein and Don and Mary Lou Hymel) plays the version of rock presented by sitcoms and oldies stations — straight from a revisionist ’50s and ’60s, scrubbed free of the racial tension, bisexual beat poets, and “Rock Around the Clock” riots that prevented grandma and grandpa from getting into the fun the first time through.
Guitarists Steve Feinstein and Don Hymel lay a steady bed of acoustic chord changes while their wives provide minimal percussion via shakers and blocks. None has a particularly booming vocal style, but their crackling harmonies draw strength in numbers. Though the TBS has been voted best cover band two years running, Poco’s 1979 hit “Crazy Love” is one of only two covers on Take It Outside, the other being the Everly Brothers’ “Let It Be Me,” and they’re two of the album’s weakest tracks: “Crazy Love” suffers from its sleepy adult-contemporary vibe (the original sounds like the Eagles hooked to an Ambien drip), but “Let It Be Me” fares better, by virtue of simply kicking ass to begin with.
Some of the originals are more interesting. “Fast” expresses loss in some truly downtrodden tones, and “Love in 3/4 Time” lives up to its name with moving (if sentimental and on-the-nose) lyrics about lifelong romance. The title track is best. though — an uptempo ditty about having your ego’s ass handed to you, delivered with the winning grumpiness of a funny grandpa joke or a latter-day Loudon Wainwright song. — Jeremy Martin
1 Technically it’s been out since October 2008, but that was too late to be eligible for last year’s Rammy Awards.