The first Band of Blacky Ranchette album was released back in 1983, and was a product of Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) and Rainer Ptacek. It was recorded for 400 dollars, and was a whole lot of fun. A second Blacky record Heartland surfaced in '86, and was followed in '89 by a third, Sage Advice. Like the X offshoot, The Knitters, BBR began as an outgrowth of Howe and Rainer wanting to explore and play music of a country and western vibe. By christening themselves BBR, they gave themselves a forum to try new ideas, embrace other styles of music and invite other folks to join in and collaborate. Their production schedule may have pushed on were it not for two things, cancer and the explosion of "alternative" music in the early 90's. The time for both Howe and Rainer were extremely busy in very different ways. Rainer spent most of it battling brain cancer, succumbing to the illness in 1997. Howe on the other hand spent his post Nirvana time concentrating on his main gig, Giant Sand.
While the memories of BBR seemed distant to Howe, it was never far from his mind. Recently he found himself collaborating with a number of various musicians, so late last year he began sowing the seeds for a new BBR record. Wrangling together a host of A list collaborators, Howe recorded whenever and wherever possible. Recorded in cars (Kurt from Lambchop), studios, hallways (Neko Case), and on stage (M Ward), Still Looking Good To Me delivers charming performances throughout; security guard interruptions and all. Highlights include the first ever duet between Richard Buckner and Neko Case, "Getting it Made", and an adult friendly version of the kid's classics "Working on the Railway" between Howe and Jason from Grandaddy.
In the Pro-Tools/computer era where engineers can polish every note and performances can be augmented by computer generated symphonies, it's nice knowing that nothing can replicate the spark and energy of a good time jam.