Backpeddling from the mellow, burnished surroundings of Ride 'em Cowboy
, Paul Davis
gussied up his country-rock with lots of ‘70s trappings on 1976’s Southern Tracks & Fantasies
. Layered with keyboards, from shimmering Fender Rhodes to belching Moogs, dabbling with reggae rhythms and long-haired blues jams with a surprising amount of grit, making passing references to pot, karma and Jesus rock, this touches on almost every Southern rock trend of the mid-‘70s, demonstrating more range and less focus than Davis
ever did on record. This, naturally, is something of a mixed blessing: Davis
does all these sounds equally well, sounding convincing even when he’s growling on “Long Haired Redneck,” but where he stumbles somewhat is on his writing, never managing to come up with an indelible tune. Still, as a record, Southern Tracks & Fantasies
is easily one of his most interesting, boasting more sounds and ideas than any of his other LPs, as well as offering convincing proof that Davis
could truly rock when he wanted to.