Smokin’ & Drinkin’ – Miranda Lambert (Platinum LP) (RCA)

Of an incredible selection of songs, this is the one that floored me on the first listen. I was tracking the CD driving up to Dallas. First cut: Good start. Second cut: Sassy, amusing. Third cut: sharp. Fourth cut: Good Lord, This Is Great! Now maybe it won’t strike you with the impact it did me, but I figure everybody will recognize a masterpiece when they hear it. I was in love with it before she even started singing. The 49 second musical intro is mesmerizing. And while I am inclined to grouse about electronically processed voices, I do recognize that when used well, it can become a brilliant stroke of art as it is here. I was driving, now, and didn’t realize this was the cut with Little Big Town backing. First, I thought she’d double-tracked herself the way the original Pop divas Leslie Gore and Connie Francis did back when dinosaurs roamed. With the LBT girls accompanying her, the dreamlike quality of the record is simply gorgeous. And while I’m the leading croaker against overly-long records, sometimes…rarely, but sometimes…a record fully earns it’s extra time. This runs 5:20 and is worth every second of it. If it becomes a single, I expect there’ll be an edit to get it down to somewhere around four minutes. In such case, I’ll uncharacteristically bemoan it. It’ll be like the summer of ’67 when I heard the long version of “Light My Fire”. After that, whenever the 2:57 single came on the radio, it just kind’a pissed me off. Coitus interruptus and all that. “Smokin’ and Drinkin'” is just spectacular music-making.