All of us should hope we have aged, or will age, like the three original members of Alabama. The band was formed over 40 years ago, disbanded for a while, then charged back with the original founders – Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook. I was expecting some sort of reverent tribute, thinking that the young guest artists would sing and Alabama would back them. Wrong! The focus is on Alabama and darned if they don’t seem as young as their friends. There’s nothing old about this band unless you run the numbers. They are as vibrant and vital as any band out there. As virtuosic, too. The guesst are icing on the cake – Jason Aldean, Trisha Yearwood, Luke Bryan, Eli Young Band, Florida Georgia Line, and Jamey Johnson.
The band performs, on its own and with friends, many of its hits – “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band),” “Dixieland Delight,” “Song of the South,” “Born Country,” “My Home’s in Alabama.” If they didn’t play all of them, that’s because there were so many – an embarrassment of riches. The versions here are longer than the singles, so the guys jam and boy can they jam. Jeff Cook, in particular with his chartreuse violin and matching guitar. The band also involves the willing audience, which sings and claps when called on to do so. It’s one big high from beginning to end. If I gave star ratings here, I’d give it a five. It comes two ways – on two CDs, or two CDs and a DVD. Be sure to get the latter; it’s well shot and has excellent DTS surround sound. Play it loud, and don’t be embarrassed if you find yourself applauding and clapping along. Prices at Amazon are at bargain rates.