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WALKING WOUNDED (Buy CDs by this artist)
Walking Wounded (Stonegarden) 1986
The New West (Chameleon) 1987
Raging Winds of Time (Chameleon) 1989
Hard Times (Doctor Dream) 1991
JERRY GIDDENS
Livin' Ain't Easy (Mountain Railroad) 1989
The Devil's Front Door (Doctor Dream) 1992

If you can get past the bombastic self-importance and drama in Jerry Giddens' voice, the rich Western folk-rock originals on the studio side of Walking Wounded's debut album are catchy, crafty and well-played. Recorded in a Hollywood club as a percussionless trio, the acoustic live side — which repeats three of the flip's studio songs and adds four more — is entirely dominated by Giddens' overzealous delivery.

Formalizing a four-man selection from the small pool that played on the first LP, Walking Wounded sounds solidly commercial but less striking on The New West. Giddens' singing isn't quite as pushy, but the material and electric arrangements aren't as memorable, so the overall progress is slight. The LP includes one song redone from Walking Wounded, the CD appends the whole thing.

Raging Winds of Time unveils a potent new lineup, including guitarists Eddie Munoz (ex-Plimsouls) and Roger Prescott (ex-Pop), in between stints together as Train Wreck Ghosts; Chalo Quintana (Havalinas) is the LP's drummer. The tastefully charged music is quite good; unfortunately, Giddens is still the singer (although he has improved a lot) and grimly earnest songwriter (his topic here is poverty and gang violence), a concentration of creative power which restricts his talented bandmates to supporting roles.

[Ira Robbins]
   See also Havalinas, Plimsouls, Pop