Alanna Nash
May 18, 1990 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Version of the Truth

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B-

Radney Foster and Bill Lloyd cracked the top five in 1987 with their first single, ”Crazy Over You,” a sly, jumpin’ rockabilly tune that stood out in the usual radio rotation like a Junior League president in a welfare line. Part of the record’s charm was that it sounded vaguely familiar and startlingly fresh at the same time. But on each of their albums (Version of the Truth is their third), Foster and Lloyd’s strength also becomes their weakness, as they prove themselves to be a country Sonny Bono — adept at recognizing key strains in a hit song and duplicating them in a framework of their own. The duo is most inspired by the Beatles, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, and the Everly Brothers, and one can find those watermarks stamped all over this album, from the ”Day Tripper”-like guitar riffs of ”It’s a Done Deal” and the Don and Phil vocal harmonies of ”Leavin’ in Your Eyes” to the Byrds’ 12-string guitar construction on ”All Said and Done.”

Unquestionably, Foster and Lloyd have crafted a listenable and spirited album, with plenty of beat to spare. But as country musicians who cut their teeth on rock & roll, they also have substituted mimicry for innovation and amalgamation for originality.

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