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.
Featured Song: Sangria Wine
Terry Allen – Lubbock (On Everything) (1979)
A lost gem from an eclectic and underrated artist.
Featured Song: Amarillo Highway
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Featured Song: West Texas Waltz
Any guesses on the other 10 albums? (Hint: The next batch is a bit folkier and not all from Texas.)