By Barry Gilbert
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


August 5, 2005

Various Artists
"The Dukes of Hazzard: Original TV Soundtrack"

Fans of "The Dukes of Hazzard" -- c'mon, we know you're out there -- must feel like they've done died and gone to Hazzard County, what with the continuing rollout of the original 1979-85 series on DVD and the release of the movie remake.

Just in case there's another dollar or two to be made on this revival, Legacy this week released the second CD reissue of the original 1981 TV show soundtrack. If it does nothing else -- and it does very little -- it includes for the first time, as a bonus track, Waylon Jennings' great version of the theme song that kicked off the show every week, "Good Ol' Boys."

Jennings, the voice-over "Balladeer" on the show, wrote the song to stand on its own, and it has aged well. But it has been available since Jennings' 1980 "Music Man" album and several compilations, so its about-time inclusion doesn't elevate this soundtrack to must-own status.

The other standout track is Johnny Cash's "General Lee," co-written by Cash. It's a tribute to the '69 Dodge Charger, nicknamed the General Lee, driven by Duke boys Luke (Tom Wopat) and Bo (John Schneider). It's fun but, happily, Cash's reputation rests on other material.

Wopat and Schneider turn in credible performances on three songs. Both men are better than average singers. Schneider had a string of fine country albums in the '80s, and Wopat has had success in Broadway musicals and recording American standards. But a California-country-rock remake of the Band's "Up on Cripple Creek"? Yikes.

Ragin' Cajun Doug Kershaw sounds like a somnambulant WASP on three songs written for him. And cast members Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg) and James Best (Sheriff Coltrane) cut up, over Charlie Daniels-style instrumentals, on forgettable narrations and bits of dialogue.

Finally, if you think today's young female singing sensations are somewhat lacking in the talent department, try to sit through Catherine Bach (the lovely Daisy Duke) warbling "Down Home American Girl." Oh . . . my . . . gawd.