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)