THE FLATLANDERS Now Again (New West Records) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The long-overdue studio reunion of Lubbock buddies Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely could never really live up to the Flatlanders legend. No longer musically ambitious upstarts aspiring to the compositional standard set by Townes Van Zandt, they're old friends who'd now probably rather reminisce about UFO sightings on the rare occasions they're together than write songs; that's too much like work. While it's great to hear those conversationally familiar vocal exchanges, the material they've come up with for Now Again, though impressive, doesn't touch anything the members have done on their own. A rare case where the whole seems less than the sum of the parts.