Trying to pick high points on Cowboys International Revisited is a rather futile task, as there are really no lapses on the album. Still, some tracks serve better than others to exemplify the tenor and flavor of Lockie's songwriting and arrangements. Examples include 'Hands,' a beautiful, anthemic torch song built upon crisply textured synthesizer figures laced with the occasional crashing guitar chord; 'Lonely Boy,' a hook-laden rocker that gives prominence to Rick Jacks' distinctive 'aquarium' guitar; and 'Pointy Shoes,' a cacophonous blast of punk-pop that finds Lockie wailing away on harmonica as guitarist/keyboardist Evan Charles, bassist Jimmy Hughes, and drummer Terry Chimes create a backdrop of thrilling, rhythmic precision. Elsewhere, Lockie anticipates the coming New Romantic movement in ways that, in retrospect, are uncanny. On the sax-and-keyboard fueled 'Future Noise,' for instance, he unfurls the sort of glam/disco synthesis soon to be employed by Martin Fry's ABC, while the sprightly orchestrated 'Today, Today' sparkles with a pop brilliance that the skinny-tie crowd often tried to capture, but rarely achieved. And throughout, Lockie sings with warm, genuine yearning, giving voice to 'angst' a full decade before that term became a catchword. Listening to Cowboys International today, I can't help thinking back to something that happened a few years ago, long before I managed to track down Lockie and tell him how much I admired his work. Specifically, as part of a poll, I was asked by a prominent rock publication to name the out-of-print album I would most like to see made available on CD. This reissue more than fulfills the wish I specified back then. I hope it brings similar pleasures to you. --Russell Hall.
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