Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Caitlin Rose - Pretty Paper

I know I said I’d be posting only one Christmas song this year, but I didn’t realize that my favorite new country signer was going to be sending a special Christmas song my way.

So here’s one more for ya from Caitlin:

Caitlin Rose – Pretty Paper

Just in case you're new to this blog, here's Caitlin's big hit:

Caitlin Rose – Dead Flowers

Buy Caitlin's music @ Theory 8
Caitlin @ MySpace
Caitlin @ STWOF

Monday, December 22, 2008

Couldn't have said it better myself.

For an excellent review of the long-awaited album Hank Williams: The Unreleased Recordings, go to this post at Harry’s Music. (It tells you exactly why you must buy this box set.)

Harry’s Music is also where I found this great BBC clip:

By the way, it's been too long since I posted a Hank tune, so here goes:

Hank Williams – Pan American (buy album)

(Incidentally, the "Harry" in Harry's Music refers to this fellow. Check out Harry's Music when you have a chance. It's pretty cool.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

20 Essential "Alt" Country Albums of the 1970s, Part 2 of 2

STWOF Mix #2:
01. Gene Clark – Silver Raven (0:00)
02. John Hartford - Back In The Goodle Days (4:44)
03. Paul Siebel – Pinto Pony (7:56)
04. Willis Alan Ramsey– Northeast Texas Women (10:14)
05. Tom T. Hall - Tulsa Telephone Book (14:58)
06. Steve Young – Lonesome On'ry And Mean (17:16)
07. Kris Kristofferson – The Best Of All Possible Worlds (20:50)
08. John Prine – Spanish Pipedream (23:27)
09. Townes Van Zandt – Tecumseh Valley (26:02)
10. Gram Parsons – Return Of The Grievous Angel (30:13)

This is the second part of a two-part series. Read about the series (and see part 1) here.

Without further ado, here are my picks for the remaining ten of the 20 essential "alt" country albums of the 1970s:

Gene Clark – No Other (1974)

I sense that appreciation for Gene Clark's excellent body of work is on the upswing, much like appreciation for Gram Parsons' work increased considerably in the 1990s. This founding member of the Byrds recorded a number of great albums in the 1960s and 1970s, both on his own and as half of Dillard & Clark.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Silver Raven
(buy album)

John Hartford – Aereo-Plain (1971)

Just listen to the featured song and you will understand.

Rising Storm Review
Stylus Magazine Review
AMG Review
Featured Song: Back In The Goodle Days
(out of print)

Paul Siebel – Jack-Knife Gypsy (1971)

This is the less celebrated of Paul Siebel's two stellar albums, but it is my favorite (probably because of Clarence White's contributions on guitar). Read about Siebel's other great album at The Rising Storm.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Pinto Pony
(buy albums)

Willis Alan Ramsey – Willis Alan Ramsey (1972)

Here is the one and only legendary album from this artist.

Rising Storm Review
AMG Review
Featured Song: Northeast Texas Women
(buy album)

Tom T. Hall – In Search Of A Song (1971)

Longtime readers of this blog know that Tom T. stands right up there with Hank, Merle and Gram in my pantheon of greats. This album is his best and most consistent.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Tulsa Telephone Book
(buy album)

Steve Young - Seven Bridges Road (1972)

Steve Young is an unsung musical genius with an uncanny knack for avoiding the spotlight.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Lonesome, On'ry & Mean
(out of print)

Kris Kristofferson – Kristofferson (1970)

Thanks in large part to the songs on this album, Kristofferson was a major player in country music scene in the 1970's. The featured song is an instant classic with several great lines: "Well, I woke up next mornin' feelin' like my head was gone, and like my thick old tongue was lickin' something sick and wrong." (Apparently, Kris was often inspired by hangovers--see also Sunday Morning Coming Down). My favorite line from Kristofferson is the refrain: "There's still alot of drinks that I ain't drunk, and lots of pretty thoughts that I ain't thunk. . . ."

AMG Review
Featured Song: The Best Of All Possible Worlds
(buy album)

John Prine – John Prine (1971)

Check out my review at The Rising Storm

AMG Review
Featured Song: Spanish Pipedream
(buy album)

Townes Van Zandt – Live At The Old Quarter (1973)

You couldn't go wrong with any of Townes' 1970s albums, but this live recording from 1973 (released in 1977) is probably the best place to start.

Rolling Stone Review
Featured Song: Tecumseh Valley
(buy album)

Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel (1974)

"Pick it for me James..."

AMG Review
Featured Song: Return Of The Grievous Angel
(buy albums)

Here is the full list in rough chronological order:

Kris Kristofferson – Kristofferson

John Prine – John Prine
John Hartford – Aereo-Plain
Paul Siebel – Jack-Knife Gypsy
Tom T. Hall – In Search Of A Song

Steve Young - Seven Bridges Road
Willis Alan Ramsey – Willis Alan Ramsey
The Flatlanders – More A Legend Than A Band

Billy Joe Shaver – Old Five And Dimers Like Me
Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes
Doug Sahm – Doug Sahm and Band
Jerry Jeff Walker – Viva Terlingua
Willie Nelson – Shotgun Willie
Townes Van Zandt – Live At The Old Quarter

Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel
Gene Clark – No Other

Guy Clark – Old No. 1

Butch Hancock - West Texas Waltzes & Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes
Joe Ely – Honky Tonk Masquerade

Terry Allen – Lubbock (On Everything)
I'm sorry if I left off your favorite (i.e., Emmylou, Ray Wylie, Commander Cody, Mickey Newbury, Kinky, Bob Martin) If I did, please let me know. This easily could have been a three-part series. Maybe it will be...

(Tip: This podcast together with Part 1 make a really nice CD when burned together on a disc.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

TRS picks reissue of the year: Bob Martin's Midwest Farm Disaster

I wholeheartedly agree with The Rising Storm's selection of Bob Martin's Midwest Farm Disaster as the best reissue of the year. Go there to read about the album and for links to more reviews.

In a nutshell, it's a perfect folk record. Strong songs that grow better with age.

The fact that an album as strong as Midwest Farm Disaster, recorded way back in '72, could exist for so long under the radar really makes you wonder what other masterpieces might be hiding out there still waiting for potential discovery.

I found out about this disk through TRS, for which I am grateful. You should do the same!

Bob Martin – Captain Jesus (buy album)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If you’re not triflin’ baby, you sure got it on your mind. . .

If you haven’t done so already, make sure to get some Moon Mullican
into your life:

Moon Mullican – Triflin' Woman Blues (buy album)

I'm not sure where you come down on triflin’, but I'm with Moon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Matter Of Time

I was scanning through my Google Reader this evening when I came across William’s great remembrance/review of Los Lobos’ 1984 release How Will The Wolf Survive over at Blues Booze Books and Bobs. There’s no point in me repeating everything he wrote, since you can just check it out there, but I do want to offer a hearty “second” to his post.

How Will The Wolf Survive has long been one of my favorite albums. It had a constant presence on my turntable during my first year of college in Ann Arbor. Twenty-four years later (YIKES), it still sounds as fresh as it did then, which isn't something I can say about most of my 1980’s favorites.

Here's a good one:

Los Lobos - A Matter Of Time (buy album)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Emitt Rhodes: Largely Unknown Pop Genius

If you are a fan of the pop stylings of Alex Chilton, Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson, or Paul McCartney, there's a pretty good chance that you've already heard of Emitt Rhodes. But just in case you haven't, this is your lucky day. The music speaks for itself.

Emitt Rhodes started off as a boy genius in the mid-sixties and has released a pop masterpiece (on which he performed every instrument), but hard luck with the record company killed his career. This article tells the story. His albums are all out of print, but you can find them used or hear them on the web if you look hard enough. It's well worth the effort.

To whet your appetite, here's sample of delicious pop from his self-titled debut masterpiece:

Emitt Rhodes - You Take The Dark Out Of The Night

(try to buy the albums used)

Also, check out this catchy track, which Rhodes composed at the young age of 16:

The Merry Go Round - Live (buy album)

Some of you jangly-eighties fans may remember the Bangles 1984 cover of this tune.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Links: BWF explores the Country-Reggae link

Head over to Boogie Woogie Flu to check out Ted's great post about Nashville's influence in Jamaica. The mp3s are worth hearing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Great American Songs: Spoonful

Spoonful is one of the all-time great American songs. Written by the legendary Willie Dixon and originally recorded by the even more legendary Howlin' Wolf, "Spoonful" is about wanting to get just a little bit of a good thing.

Here's the classic original version:

Howlin' Wolf - Spoonful (buy album)

Here's the earlier blues song from Charley Patton that inspired Dixon's Spoonful:

Charley Patton - A Spoonful Blues (buy album)

Now for the real purpose of this post, three great cover versions.

(1) First and foremost, check out this great cover version by Jim Ford:

Jim Ford - Spoonful (buy album) (AMG Review)

Who is Jim Ford, you ask? He is an unknown legend worth discovering. Check out these informative posts at Rock Town Hall and Aquarium Drunkard.

(2) Next up is a great take on the song by Etta James (with Harvey Fuqua of the Moonglows):

Etta James & Harvey Fuqua – Spoonful (buy album) (AMG Review)

(3) Last, but not least, here's a really great instrumental version from the famous jazz arranger, Gil Evans:

Gil Evans - Spoonful (buy album) (AMG Review)

This one will be perfect for summer evening cocktail parties at your bachelor pad. (It clocks in at 13:46, but it's well worth the wait.)

Lately, drinking warm red wine is all I want to do...

Faron Young is one of the artists who probably deserves more recognition than he gets.

Helping to correct the situation is WFMU's Beware of the Blog, which is currently featuring a nice little Faron Young Tribute (including this great video, three mp3s, and some cool Life Magazine photos).

One of my faves: Faron Young - Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young (buy album)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Only Christmas Song I'll Be Posting This Year

If you're looking for Christmas music, it's all over the place. But the place I'd start looking for the really good stuff is the always excellent Big Rock Candy Mountain

BRCM is posting cool X-mas music everyday from now through the big holiday. Go there for this annual favorite and a whole bunch more.

Commander Cody - Daddy's Drinking Up Our Christmas (buy album)

Middle Cyclone

Neko's new album is due on March 3.

As you can see, the cover is super cool. Read about it here.

(Hat tip: A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz)

Here's an oldie from Neko: Neko Case – Set Out Running (Live)

(Buy Neko)

Clever Idea For A Mixed Tape

Tsuru has a clever idea for a mixed tape.

Can you think of any more songs to keep the list going? What number songs would you have selected?

Here's one about the loneliest number...

Harry Nilsson - One (buy album) (AMG review)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I must speak frankly...

Today was "bonus and raise" day in our office. Mr. Shankly came by to tell me that I would be receiving neither. Times are tough, I guess. (Or maybe I spent too much time blogging!)

Anyway, this is a funny song.

The Smiths - Frankly, Mr. Shankly (buy album)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Higher than I've ever been before

The Byrds - Chestnut Mare (buy album)

Always alone, never with a herd
Prettiest mare I’ve ever seen, you’ll have to take my word
I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand

Well I was up on stony ridge after this chestnut mare
Been chasin’ her for weeks
Oh, I’d catch a glimpse of her every once in a while
Takin’ her meal, or bathing; a fine lady

This one day I happened to be real close to her
And I saw her standin’ over there
So I snuck up to her nice and easy
Got my rope out, and I flung it in the air

I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m going to catch that horse if I can

Well I got her, and I’m pullin’ on her, and she’s pullin’ back,
Like this mule goin’ up a ladder
And I take a choice and I jump up on her
Damned if I don’t land right on top of her

And she takes off, runnin’ up on to the ridge
Higher than I’ve ever been before
She’s runnin’ along just fine, till she stops and something spooked her
It’s a sidewinder, all coiled and ready to strike
She doesn’t know what to do for a second
But then she jumps off the edge, me holding on

Above the hills, higher than eagles were gliding
Suspended in the sky,
Over the moon, straight for the sun we were riding
My eyes were filled with light
Behind us black walls, below us a bottomless canyon
Floating with no sound
Gulls far below, seemed to be suddenly rising
Exploding all around...

I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m going to catch that horse if I can

And we were falling down this crevice, about a mile down I’d say
I look down and I see this red thing below us, comin' up real fast
And It’s our reflection in this little pool of water
About six feet wide and one foot deep

And we’re fallin' down right through it
And we hit and we splashed it dry
That’s when I lost my hold and she got away
But I’m gonna’ try to get her again some day

I’m going to catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m going to catch that horse
I’m going to catch that horse
I’m going to catch that horse if I can
I’m going to catch that horse if I can


So, what do you think?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

News & Notes

You Send It: You may have noticed that I've been using for recent mp3s. That's because (1) I'm downplaying the mp3 format in favor of more mixed tapes/podcasts and (2) the money is a little tight right now and is free. Songs are available for 7 days.

Example: Kinky Friedman - Top Ten Commandments (buy album)

New Blogroll: The blogroll has been updated with lot's of great new stuff for you to explore.

Acclaimed Music, Adios Lounge, A Fifty Cent Lighter, AM Then FM, An Aquarium Drunkard, Art Decade, A Truer Sound, Bag Of Songs, Big Rock Candy Mountain, Bleedin' Out, Blues Booze Books & Bobs, Bongo Jazz A Speciality, Boogie Woogie Flu, Cable & Tweed, Captain’s Dead, Cardboard Gods, Ceci n'est pas un blog, College Crowd Digs Me, Cover Freak, Cover Lay Down, Culture Bully, Devil's Music, Doctor Mooney's 115th Dream, Echoes In The Wind, Expecting Rain, Fits & Starts, For The Sake Of The Song, Funky 16 Corners, Geezer Music Club, Gentlebear, Harry's Music, Honey, Where You Been So Long?, Ill Folks, Joe Sixpack's Guide To Hick Music, Keep The Coffee Coming, Late Greats, Living In Stereo, Locust Street, Lonesome Music, Moistworks, Mojo Repair Shop, Motel De Moka, Muruch, My Aimz Is True, My Little Ghost Friend, Nine Bullets, Old Blue Bus, One Lonely Horn, Postmodern Sounds In Country, Powerpopulist, Pretty Goes With Pretty, Rag Mama Rag, Randy & Earl's Old Record Club, Retro Music Snob, Rising Storm, Riverboat Captain, River's Invitation, Rock Town Hall, Snuh, Song By Toad, So Well Remembered, Spread The Good Word!, Star Maker Machine, Strawberry Flats, That Off The Wall Jive, There Stands The Glass, There's Always Someone Cooler, This Mornin' I Am Born Again, This Recording, Timedoor, Tsururadio, Tuning Room, Twang Nation, Visions And Revisions, When You Awake, 77 Santas

(If your great music site is not listed, it's probably just due to my negligence.)

Random Links: From now on, look for more links to interesting articles, You Tube videos, and great posts at other blogs. It's easier than doing all the work myself and a great way to highlight cool things.

Guest Posts: Speaking of other great blogs, I have been and will be posting on some other (better) blogs than this one. Last week I did a review over at The Rising Storm and I've got something in the works right now for For The Sake Of The Song.

Current Favorite Movie Line:

"This aggression will not stand man."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here...

Today, This Recording has a really nice piece on Joni Mitchell, of whom I've been enamored for years.

Also check out For The Sake Of The Song, which features a few choice tunes from the "Second Frets Sets" bootleg.

For those of you in Detroit, here's an interesting article about Joni's time living in the Motor City.

Finally, here's one more tune from Joni's "Second Fret Sets" boot, in which Joni explains an interesting songwriting technique that she copied from Bob Dylan: Mr. Blue

Let's hear it for Joni!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Links: Cool Record Collection

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thankful for the existence of great music blogs like Boogie Woogie Flu.

Go there now to see the latest additions to Ted’s super cool record collection.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Found On You Tube: Christine's Tune

Pretty cool, huh?

Links: Anatomy Of A Flop

Today, one of may favorite websites for intelligent rock music discussion, Rock Town Hall, shines a light on one of my favorite jangly 80’s bands, the dB’s.

Go to this RTH post to find a link over to an interesting NY Times Article by dB’s frontman Peter Holsapple called “Anatomy of a Flop.” (And be sure to bookmark Rock Town Hall while you are there.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

20 Essential "Alt" Country Albums of the 1970s, Part 1 of 2

STWOF Mix #1:
01. Jerry Jeff Walker - Sangria Wine (0:00)
02. Terry Allen - Amarillo Highway (4:12)
03. Willie Nelson – Devil In A Sleepin’ Bag (7:58)
04. Billy Joe Shaver – Old Five & Dimers Like Me (10:36)
05. Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes (13:15)
06. The Flatlanders – Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown (16:45)
07. Guy Clark – L.A. Freeway (19:23)
08. Joe Ely – Honky Tonk Masquerade (24:15)
09. Doug Sahm – Faded Love (27:59)
10. Butch Hancock – West Texas Waltz (31:55)

Welcome to my first podcast! I hope you like (or can tolerate) the new format. You'll notice that I am taking baby steps. No talking on this podcast, just ten great tracks in a row. Makes a heck of a mix tape.

The theme is Essential "Alt" Country Albums of the 1970s. In terms of artistic merit and musical diversity, country music really came into its own in the 1970s. The epicenter of that development was Texas. While the term "alt-country" wasn't invented until the 1990's when groups like Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown made their mark, the country music coming out of Texas in the 1970's was every bit as "alternative." Alt-country before alt-country was cool. To get a good feel for similar releases from the same era, check out Joe Sixpack's list of 1970's Hillbilly & Outlaw Albums.

The ten albums featured below are one-half of what I would consider to be the 20 essential country, or better yet "alt-country," LPs of the 1970s. (The rest will be presented in STWOF podcast #2.) These are not listed in any particular order, except that I included all Texas artists in the first installment. The only ground rule I followed in making my list was to limit inclusion to one selection per artist. I also left off the more mainstream country artists of the time, even though some are quite deserving. (Remember: Willie and Waylon were "outlaws").

If you like the music featured on this site, then you will LOVE these records, all of which come with the highest possible STWOF seal of approval. If you are looking for a way to stimulate our economy, you couldn't do any better than dropping a few bucks on these classics.

Jerry Jeff Walker – Viva Terlingua (1973)

This one is a ton of fun. Great mood.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Sangria Wine
(buy album)

Terry Allen – Lubbock (On Everything) (1979)

A lost gem from an eclectic and underrated artist.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Amarillo Highway
(buy album)

Willie Nelson – Shotgun Willie (1973)

Willie had a few other LPs in the running for this list, especially Red-Headed Stranger, but in the end something told me to go with this one.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Devil In A Sleepin’ Bag
(buy album)

Billy Joe Shaver – Old Five And Dimers Like Me (1973)

Billy Joe's debut is a Texas tour de force.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Old Five & Dimers Like Me
(buy album)

Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes (1973)

A surprisingly close call between this landmark album and Waylon's other masterpiece, Dreaming My Dreams, but HTH just can't be denied. One of my all-time favorite records of any era or genre.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Honky Tonk Heroes
(buy album)

The Flatlanders – More A Legend Than A Band (1972)

This one's definitely a desert island disc for me, though it probably would play better on a barren plain. Legendary is no exaggeration for this collection from Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock. Recorded in 1972 and only released on 8-track for a limited run until this reissue in 1990.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown
(buy album)

Guy Clark – Old No. 1 (1975)

Guy is one of the great Texas songwriters. His debut is chock full of classics.

AMG Review
Featured Song: L.A. Freeway
(buy album)

Joe Ely – Honky Tonk Masquerade (1978)

Joe Ely was born to be a country singer. Even if he had wanted to be a dentist or an accountant, his voice would have compelled him to switch careers. When you hear him, you hear country. This album is probably his best.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Honky Tonk Masquerade
(buy album for cheap!)

Doug Sahm – Doug Sahm and Band (1973)

This album, which is as much blues as it is country, just feels like Texas. (That's why I picked a Bob Wills song to feature.) For more about Doug Sahm, check out The Adios Lounge.

AMG Review
Featured Song: Faded Love
(buy album)

Butch Hancock - West Texas Waltzes & Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes (1978)

Here is the "roughest" voice of The Flatlanders accompanied only by harmonica and guitar. Very Woody Guthrie-esque. Maybe the least accessible of today's features, but definitely worth checking out.

AMG Review
Featured Song: West Texas Waltz
(buy album)

Any guesses on the other 10 albums? (Hint: The next batch is a bit folkier and not all from Texas.)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Links: Cash At Folsom Prison

Check out this nice article about Cash's Folsom Prison concert.

From the author, Jason Gross:

"When Johnny Cash walked into the gloomy Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968, he had no idea how it would change his life or the course of popular music—he would put the 40-acre property on the map and the penitentiary would return the favor for him."