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KD Lang - Reintarnation

KD Lang, Reintarnation

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

K.D. Lang’s latest album, Reintarnation, offers a nostalgic trip through the first decade of the singer’s groundbreaking career, which has since become dubbed ‘cowpunk’.

It is comprised of 20 rare early singles, as well as a previously unreleased track, that chronicle her cowgirl existence.

As such, it provides a veritable goldmine for any fan of country music or those who have missed out on the early years of a favourite artist.

From the outset of her professional recording career, Lang regularly paid tribute to her heroine, Patsy Cline. In 1983, she independently released her first single, a composition called Friday Dance Promenade on which she was backed by her aptly named band, The Reclines.

Reintarnation includes this song as well as other rare gems from the back catalogue, as well as Hanky Panky and Pine and Stew from her first full album, A Truly Western Experience in 1984.

It was these early recordings that helped Lang to earn a recording contract with Sire, who went on to release her major label debut, Angel With A Lariat, in 1987.

From that album, Reintarnation includes the truly foot-stomping Turn Me Around and Diet Of Strange Places.

From them on it includes tracks such as Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes from the Gold-certified Shadowland, on which she teamed with Owen Bradley, as well as seven tracks from Absolute Torch And Twang, the landmark album that earned the singer her first Grammy for ‘Best Female Country Vocalist’.

Other highlights include three songs from the soundtrack to Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, as well as the previously unreleased Changed My Mind, which Lang co-wrote with Ben Mink over 20 years ago (but which was finally completed and recorded especially for this compilation).

Whatever you may think of country music in general, the real joy in listening to Reintarnation comes from hearing just how Lang brought it to a wider audience by subverting a number of its conventions.

Hence, tracks like Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes and the riotous Hanky Panky are capable of reaching beyond their genre and being appreciated by a much wider group of listeners.

Put together in one definitive collection, these 20 songs provide an excellent reminder of why Lang remains such a potent force in contemporary music.

By the way, the name of the album is not a typo, but rather a word coined by the Washington Post to describe coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Track listing:

  1. Pay Dirt
  2. Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes
  3. Big Boned Gal
  4. Don’t Be A Lemming Polka
  5. Curious Soul Astray
  6. It’s Me
  7. Luck In My Eyes
  8. Diet Of Strange Places
  9. Big Big Love
  10. Trail Of Broken Hearts
  11. Nowhere To Stand
  12. Friday Dance Promenade
  13. Got A Bull By The Horns
  14. Angel With A Lariat
  15. Pine And Stew
  16. Hanky Panky
  17. Pullin’ Back The Reins
  18. Cowgirl Pride
  19. Changed My Mind
  20. Turn Me Around