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July 2007 Newsletter
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Yesterday & Today Records
Postage: 1 cd $2/ 2cd $3/ 3-4 cd $5.80
1 dvd $4.50 2/3 dvd $5.80
If you are receiving our newsletter for the first time then please note we do things a little differently to what you may have been used to. We are not really ans of major label record companies and have a preference for traditional flavoured music. However, if you are after something and don't see it then please don't hesitate to ask. As always we write without fear or favour. Thanks for reading.
Merle Haggard - Working Man's Journey $32 Twelve new recordings, 6 being re-recordings and 6 being brand new songs. This is only sold in the Cracker Barrel stores in the USA and not outside the USA. Tracks are as follows:
Mud Acres - Music Among Friends $30
The second volume is even better with Pat Alger, Eric Andersen, Rory Block, the fabulous Roly Salley (whose "Killing the Blues" must be one of the best country songs ever written and was admirably covered by Bill Chambers), Paul Siebel and John Sebastian joining in. There are more original songs on here and all are of the highest calibre imaginable. Artie Traum's "Barbed Wire" brings chills every time I play it and Rory Block's version of "Long Journey" could be lifted off any Gillian Welch album. John Herald is excellent on his own "Bluegrass Boy" and "Woodstock Mountains" as well as the new bonus track, "Lone Wolf". Pat Alger's "Mason Dixon's On the Line" is a precursor to his successful Nashville songwriting career. Backing is superb with Ben Keith , Jim Rooney, the Traums and dobro man Ron Sutton being standouts. A fitting finale is the harmonica duet version of "Amazing Grace" featuring John Sebastian and Paul Butterfield.
Both are highly recommended as will the other two volumes when I get them (urgency is not a word the Japanese seem to understand). And I guarantee you will never see two albums so beautifully presented.
Other cd from Beatball Records. All are in this delightful mini lp configuration and like most cd releases in Japan are limited editions.
**Dillards - Decade Waltz $30 Reissue of 1979 album which saw the talented Herb Pederson return to the fold after an absence of a decade. This one is very much in the style of their two country rock classics "Copperfields" & "Wheatstraw Suite", available through Collectors Choice (listing later in this newsletter). Again the original Rounder lp cover is superbly reproduced and there is a 16 page booklet with notes from UK writer John Tobler, which includes full illustrated discography. As with many Dillards albums they do a superb take on a Beatles song, this time "We Can Work it Out".
**Mike Auldridge & Jeff Newman - "Slidin' Smoke" $30 Ultra rare album that was on the Flying Fish label, on cd for the first time with superb mini lp presentation. The gatefold sleeve has a double fold photo of Mike playing dobro for Mr Brown to pin up in his study. Interesting mix of instrumentals and vocals. Newman is a pedal steel guitar player with a jazzy bent. Aided and abetted by Johnny Gimble on fiddle and mandolin and Bunky Keels on piano (with the great Larrie Londin on drums). There is a great take on the classic "When I Dream" with a great Mike Auldridge dobro introduction and vocal. Rest is a mixture of instrumentals and a few bluegrassy offerings. 16 page new notes by John Tobler including full illustrated discography. Just wonderful presentation. Auldridge's dobro lead on an instrumental version of "Send in the Clowns" is stunning with Newman doing wonderful fills.
**Geoff Muldaur & Amos Garrett $30 Reissue of ultra rare Flying Fish label album which has a strong blues leaning with styles ranging from jug band style (Muldaur was a member of the Jim Kweskin jug band) to Chicago style blues. Includes vocals by both mainstays as well as 3 tasty instrumentals which feature Garrett's guitar playing. He was of course responsible for the solo on (Geoff's ex wife) Maria Muldaur's hit "Midnight at the Oasis" 16 page booklet by John Tobler features fully illustrated discography, which takes the mini lp format....the cd looks just like the lp did.
**Eric Von Schmidt & the Cruel Family $30 Wonderful cover, which was actually painted by Von Schmidt himself. He was also responsible for many of the fine covers that were featured on Vanguard records in the sixties eg. Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie etc. Controversial album as Philo, the Rounder label offshoot released the album but neglected to include it is their catalogue. All songs are Von Schmidt originals with eclectic being the word of the day. His work was a strong influence on Bob Dylan who paid homage to Von Schmidt on his debut album. 20 page book with new notes from John Kruth. The mini lp style presentation is a work of art.
**Maria Muldaur - Sweet Lovin' Old Soul $30 Excellent acoustic blues collection of Stoney Plains label (Canada) recordings which features a duet with Taj Mahal on the old Butterball & Suzie song "Ain't What You Used to Do". She also covers Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, Sippie Wallace and Victoria Spivey as well as the Bessie Smith classic "Empty Bed Blues".
**Steve Young - Seven Bridges Road $30 Collection of Steve's best work which is largely different from anything issued thus far. Duplication is minimal. It includes the entire Rounder album called "Seven Bridges Road" from 1981 and includes replication of the front and rear covers of that album as well as 12 page booklet featuring new notes from John Tobler. Includes bonus 11 Reprise label tracks in great sound. Excellent digi-pak presentation, again illustrating the highest quality presentation.
Other reissue on Beatball label:
R Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders - "R Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders" $35 Unfortunately some Japanese cds tend to be expensive but the upside is that the quality is vastly superior to anything else issued in the world and as most are limited editions they have an inherent collectability about them. This is a reissue in mini lp cover of the first R Crumb album on Blue Goose from 1974. The 2nd and 3rd albums were issued on cd in the USA but not this gem. Crumb is best known as an artist and cartoonist, but is held in great respect by music fans for keeping the traditions of old time music, string band music and bluegrass alive. The vocals are handled by Crumb, Alan Dodge and the multi-talented Robert Armstrong who proves to be adept on the musical saw. Whilst they mainly adapt pre 30s music for their recordings they are also great at writing songs which seamlessly blend in. Best here is "Get a Load of This" a wonderful offering which promotes junk food. They do a great adaptation of the music from Hal Roach's original "Little Rascals" but even better is their paean to the economically challenged, "I Had But 50 Cents". When the lp was originally issued it was at a time there was a world vinyl shortage and some of the pressings you were getting were woeful and seemingly everything on Blue Goose label fell into that category. It is great to have something that sounds so good without any clicks or pops to interfere with the listening pleasure.
John Anderson - "John Anderson" $25
Paul Overstreet - Something for the Road $30 Brand new album with 12 songs, several of which have a touch of humour, such as "Takes a Lot of Liquor to Like Her" and "I Think She Only Loves Me For My Willie" (which is of course about his Willie Nelson record collection). Other songs are more typically Overstreet such as the catchy "All By My Lonesome", "The Perfect Woman" and "She Looks So Good in Black". On the other end of the scale we have his version of the smash hit "She Thinks My Tractors Sexy" which shows that bad taste knows no boundaries. Given Overstreet's fine track record it is hard to imagine him writing anything so moronic. You'd imagine June Dally-Watkins playing Three Stooges videos at her School of Deportment before you'd imagine Overstreet writing this. The other 11 tracks are just grand. Hard to beat even.
Elizabeth Cook - "Balls" $30 Brand new independent album on the 31 Tigers label, produced (extremely well) by Rodney Crowell. 11 songs with 10 written on co-written by Elizabeth with the exception being of all things a Velvet Underground song in "Sunday Morning" which works extremely well. Rodney Crowell and Nanci Griffith join her on "Down Girl" whilst Bobby Bare Jnr is a perfect foil on the duet "Rest Your Weary Mind" ...pity he doesn't have the material to match his talent on much of his own albums. I'd have to say Ms Cook's best album yet. Has similar appeal to the likes of Amber Digby & Heather Myles. Now that is elite company.
** DVD Dale Watson "Live at Newland" $42 Features the same group as toured with him and this is only released in Holland by Rounder Europe. This is even better than the recent tour in one sense....the quality of the recording is excellent and you get to see all the Lonestars (not to be confused with Lonestar!!) at their very best. This is great value with 28 tracks covering songs from all his albums. In fact best to list the tracks. Dale fans will know immediately how essential it is. He is a real country singer but the venom he has given to the likes of Toby Keith and Shania Twain has mellowed. He outsings anyone around and then some. Welcome to Newland/Honky Tonkers Don't Cry/Making Up Time/ You Pour Salt in the Wound/ Heaaah!/I'm Wondering/ Luther (* which shows his great guitar skills...on his Australian made Tompkins' guitar)/Whiskey or God/ 38-21-34/ Made in Japan/ Wine Wine Wine/ Yellow Mama/ I Think of You/ Exit 109/ I See Your Face/ Gone, Gone, Gone-Gone-Pretty Girls Never Stay/ Tequila & Teardrops/I Take a Lot of pride in What I Am/ Hair of the Dog/ South of Round Rock Texas/ No Help Wanted/ A Real Country Song (Mr DJ)/ I Ain't been Right/ Way Down Texas Way/ My Heart Is Yours/ Nashville Rash/ Reprise.
Dale Watson - "One More Once More" $32 Another gem only released on the Rounder Europe label. Dale is uniformly polite and humble and when I told him this was my mum's favourite album he seemed genuinely pleased. "You tell your mum thank you very much" (...and I did). This is his album that he has loosely called his swing album and indeed he does a couple of superb covers especially "It Happened in Monterey". This is a mix of swing, crooning and shuffles with Dale's signature style being well to the fore. Track listing: Once More/ You Win Again/ You've Got Me Now/ Do You/ So Glad You're Mine/ Cupid/ 6 Days/ It Happened in Monterey/ San Antone/ Deep in the Heart/ Wagon/ I Could Have Danced All Night! Unequivocally brilliant! And like his fellow Texan, Wayne the Train Hancock, Dale has the good sense to incorporate some tasty trombone playing into the act!
Dale Watson - "From the Cradle to the Grave" $30 The death song has long been a feature of country music from its earliest days and it has been something that Dale has focussed on previously. His version of "Long Black Veil", arguably the most famous country murder song was given its best ever version by Dale. This cd is so similarly themed that it would be appropriate even to call it "Long Black veiled". "Justice for All" has some great lines "revenge is mine Sayith the Lord....well he's one lucky guy" and "An eye for an eye would leave the whole world blind". And what a groove to boot. "Yellow Mama", which has been a feature of Dale's shows may be the only song ever written about an electric chair...unfortunately the singer is the one who is going to try it out next. "Runaway Train" seemingly speaks of Johnny Cash...a man "Out of control...his soul dressed in black". Whilst he has mellowed he never lets a chance go by and on the cover we see him standing in a graveyard. "Country Music R I P" is seen on the closest tombstone....ironic in that Dale proves again it is anything but dead. Genius!
Dale Watson - "The Little Darlin' Sessions" $30 Amazing collection by the man credited as "great country singer who always wanted to do it his way and has!" The album sees the Little Darlin' label crew reunited without of course Johnny Paycheck...no matter. Great notes reveal producer Aubrey Mayhew is the world's largest collector of JFK memorabilia to the extent he even purchased the Texas Book Depository. He was also responsible for "naming' Johnny Paycheck and made contributions to 8 of the 15 songs on this album. The original recording crew was reassembled for these sessions and includes Lloyd Green on steel, Hoot Hester on fiddle and Hargus "Pig' Robbins on piano. Lots of quirky songs seem as fresh as ever with the likes of "He Thought He'd Die Laughing" and "The Late & Great Me" sounding better than ever thanks to Dale's wonderful delivery. 15 songs. It don't get any better than this!
The Paladins - Power Shake Live dvd $42 Although they are now termed roots rock they are largely a rockabilly group with Dave Gonzalez on guitar and vocals being the front man. They do a mix of covers and originals and they it all seamlessly and with a power belying their 3 piece status. Running over 100 minutes the dvd never is anything but full on. The audience has a ball. Tracks include favourites such as "Goin' to the City", "Looking for a Girl Like You" and slightly less rockabilly fare such as "El Matador". Great live rockabilly album which is right up there with the Two Tons of Steel album from last year.
Asleep at the Wheel - "Reinventing the Wheel" $32 Back in the old days Ray Benson used to share the vocals with the likes of Leroy Preston but notably Chris O'Connell. He still shares vocals with the likes of Jason Roberts but has again added a fine female vocalist to the ensemble in Elizabeth McQueen who is excellent on her two solo spots "I Don't Care if The Sun Don't Shine" and "I'm An Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande" as well as a fine foil to Jason Roberts on the song associated with Tennessee Ernie Ford & Kay Starr, "You're My Sugar". Jason who plays Bob Wills in a stage show in Austin is also a fine writer and his song, the cleverly titled "Am I Right or Amarillo" is a distinct highlight. Ray Benson is a fan of Louis Jordan and one of the early favourites was "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens". He again pays homage to Mr Jordan with a version of "Saturday Night Fish Fry" and concludes with a Guy Clark song. All in all a fine effort and the reinvention is successful.
Time Jumpers - "Jumpin' Time" $35 This is one of the best dvds we've ever had and it has an absolute "you had to be there" feel about it. The Time Jumpers are a feature every Monday night at the world famous Station Inn, which is a Nashville institution know for bluegrass, of which this certainly isn't, even though it has the likes of Aubrey Hayney playing on it. It is classic western swing....and it has never been played better. There are 3 fiddlers in all, Hayney, Joe Spivey & and probably the group's leader, Kenny Sears, had the good sense to bring his wife Dawn Sears along. Vocals are handled by many including the Sears, Ranger Doug but personal favourite is Carolyn Martin who shows great personality. John Hughey, an associate of Waylon Jennings among others is great on pedal steel guitar. Andy Reiss, reminiscent of Red Volkhaert, plays with gay abandon on lead guitar. Over 2 hours playing time and hell...it has to be the best ever dvd we've had!! No wait...there's still that Texas Tornados and Dale Watson...too hard to call.
Carolyn Martin - "Swing" $32 The personable Carolyn largely uses members of the Time Jumpers on her second solo album (the previous one being all torch songs). This fits in nicely with the Time Jumpers dvd. She is so good I wonder why she isn't known. She has great personality especially on songs such as "Thre Little Words" and "Cheatin' On Your Baby". Tops.
Jim Owen - Sings With Friends and Heroes $30 Jim put out an album of Hank Williams songs on CBS in the 70s and has made his reputation in a number of Hank Williams stage shows but is also a songwriter of note scoring his biggest hit with the Conway/Loretta classic "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man". Lots of tracks. Guests include Mel Tillis (One More Drink + others), Barbara Fairchild (Teddy Bear Song + others) George Hamilton IV, Johnny Russell, Tommy Cash etc. 22 tracks in all.
Norma Jean - "I Guess That Comes from Being Poor" $28 Omni label Norma Jean was equally adept at singing gospel as she was at singing classic cheating songs and in this regard was just as home at being either the cheater or the cheatee(!). "Another Man Loved Me Last Night" (as covered superbly by Amber Digby) is as low down and dirty as it gets. She began to gain success when appearing with Porter Wagoner and as Nashville's quintessential skirt man Porter (separated from his wife at the time) saw that Norma Jean became more than just a vocal partner. She left the Porter show when Porter wouldn't divorce his wife and became a fully fledged solo performer. This cd comprises the complete content of her album "I Guess That Comes from Being Poor" (a concept album dealing with poverty). She is very effective in capturing the irony in "The Lord Must Have Loved the Poor Folks". She also covers Haggard's "Mama's Hungry Eyes" as well as offering a female perspective on "Old Doc Brown" (written by Red Foley but so intrinsically associated with Hank Snow). In sharp contrast is the album "Body & Mind" which is also contained in its entirety and deals with relationships which certainly wouldn't make the Top Ten Commandments. The cover features Norma Jean looking as though she were about to audition for Julie Andrews' "Sound of Music" role...but the songs certainly say otherwise. It also includes the majority of the "Another Man Loved Me Last Night" album and the double entendre of "Somebody's Gonna Plow Your Field" is certainly intended. The cd is the only one in print representing Norma Jean's original RCA recordings and is so good you find yourself wishing for a Volume 2 when you are a couple of tracks into the 30 offered herein. Great backing by the likes of Lloyd Green, Johnny Gimble & Harold Bradley.
Malvina Reynolds - "Malvina Reynolds" $28 Omni label If you have ever been to San Francisco and travelled from the airport to the city you would travel round the bay and end up facing a bunch of houses on the hilltops which would make you break into "Little Boxes", a song written by Malvina about the ills of conformity. Simple but straight to the point. That is not on this cd but it does feature "Morningtown Ride", one of the Seekers' biggest hits. This is in fairly sharp contrast to the album in general which mainly concerns itself with protest songs of varying sorts. So she sings about the native American occupation of post-prison "Alcatraz". Chemical poisoning and pollution in general is very big in her subject matter as is worker exploitation. Mr Gallagher is proposing she be canonised. Imagine if you would a female 60's era Tom Paxton and you'd be getting close to what Malvina represents. Contains 6 songs licensed from her daughter which are seeing the light of day for the first time. Backing is rather unusual featuring country rock acts such as the Byrds & the Dillards.
The Stonemans - "In All Honesty" $28 Omni When it comes to recording families, the Stonemans may not be the best known but they were certainly the largest with Ernest "Pop" Stoneman and wife Hattie having a whopping 23 children...not only the entire football team but the complete reserves' bench as well! When Pop Stoneman passed away in 1968 the US was in the midst of the hippy movement and it would seem appropriate that they record some of the hits of the day and are very effective on John Fogerty's "Who'll Stop the Rain" and "Don't Look Now, It Ain't You or Me". However, they were also on the ball in covering the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Mickey Newbury and Kris Kristofferson but were also able to incorporate traditional tunes (rather seamlessly too) into the mix. Again we basically get 3 complete albums from the RCA catalogue in exceptional sound, viz "In All Honesty", "California Blues" and "Dawn of the Stonemans". Incidentally all 3 were produced by the great Jack Clement!.
Ronny Elliott - "Live" $25 And now for a man who needs no introduction. Silence. The crowd gets the joke, well at least 2 or 3 do. Ronny's first live album and he has never sounded better. His songs are offered in expanded versions which are better than the originals. Number one on the list is definitely "The Twist Came from Tampa" which is essentially the story of how black musicians were exploited by the likes of Alan Freed and Dick Clark. Ronny is at his most bitter and twisted on this gem. He speaks of Cameo Parkway records (who released the record "The Twist" by that "hack" Chubby Checker). "They were 50% owned by the mafia...and that was the good 50%", Ronny informs us. The evil 50 % was owned by Dick Clark, or so we are informed. Suddenly you had Dick Clark making a lot of money off Bobby Rydell, Fabian and Frankie Avalon..."What has Frankie Avalon got?" Ronny enquires. "I hate Dick Clark". Well scoop...we would never have guessed. Second on the list also has a musical bent, "Tell the King the Killer's Here," which tells of Jerry Lee's uninvited visit to Graceland; based on a true story as they say. "Broke Heart Blues" shows another side of Ronny and is melodic as you'd ever get. There is no other artist like Ronny. He has a voice which a lot of people mistake for that of Johnny Cash. I guess they have a similar deep qualities but he is equal parts Lou Reed and Dylan with a touch of Springsteen. He semi-speaks a lot of hit lyrics. As such he is one of the few alternate country artists who should be uniformly recommended. Not for the traditionalists but anyone who likes a little edge then Ronny is the king!!
Emmylou Harris - "In Concert" dvd $25 This 64 minute dvd from Holland carries a 2005 date and features post "Wrecking Ball" Emmylou with Buddy Miller on guitar. A tad dodgy as two tracks credited with Carl Jackson only offer a montage with the music featured and on one it isn't even Emmylou singing with Jackson.. but overall this will please Emmylou fans and the price is good.
Floyd Flowers - "I Ain't Much But I'm All I Got" $32 Second cd of traditional country music a la George Jones and all original material of the highest calibre. Lots of songs have a cheating theme to them: "I Thought Cheating Was Winning" for example but also has some great songs concerning themselves with family values, notably the cajun flavoured "Small Living for a Large Family". "It's a Long Road to Richmond" is a great ballad (very Jones-ish) about the problems of loneliness. Similar theme but with the singer hitting the bottle is "Dreams Don't Die Easy". This is goose bump material. Top drawer stuff. His intonation is superb. Unfortunately musician credits are not given as the steel player in particular is just grand. 14 tracks in all. Even better than his previous album and that was of the highest order. "I Ain't Much But I'm All I Got" is a two stepper!
Guy Clark - South Coast of Texas $30
John McEuen - "John McEuen" $25 John had left the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band when he made this album in 1985. It is a mix of instrumentals but mainly vocals, something that is a bit of a surprise as he rarely did any when in the Dirt Band. "Reno & Me" has been covered many times but John's may be the first version and is certainly one of the best. He performs a couple of Guy Clark songs with great effect and reprises a track he did on the "Stars & Stripes Forever", the long narrative "The Mountain Whippoorwill" about a greenhorn performing at the Essex County Fiddle Show. He was up against Old Dan Wheeling...wit hwhiskers in his ears but still managed to win. Great tale and expertly told. He concludes with a version of the Santo & Johnny classic "Sleepwalk". Good cd on Wounded Bird.
Marty Stuart - Compadres: An Anthology of Duets $28 A collection of 14 duets collected over the years. Only 2 are previously unreleased: "Will You Visit Me on Sunday" with Loretta Lynn and "I Can See For Miles" (yes the Pete Townsend song) performed with Old Crow medicine Show. Other participants ( previously issued songs) include Merle Haggard, George Jones, Connie Smith etc.
Brennen Leigh - "Devil's On My Tail" $30 A friend of Sunny Sweeney and also with a traditional style. She has a great voice which reminds of Paulette Carson on the opening track "Desperately Alone", which is a great start. She covers a number of styles "Still Think About You" is a folky ballad. Indeed some tracks sound like a different singer to others. Not that the eclectic nature interferes with things and in fact adds to things. Cindy Cashdollar adds dobro to a few tracks and all time Y & T hero James Hand has a spoken passage on a track (which is very topical locally as it is about a flood), "Don't Let Go That Rail John". He also performs on "Stumblin' On", which is performed as a duet, and has a nice change of pace mid song when Brennen does her bit and speeds up again when James does his part. Several tracks have a religious flavour. 16 tracks all up. She wrote 10 of the tracks.
*Red River Dave McEnery - "There's a Blue Sky Way Out Yonder"
*Carson Robison – Blue River Train and Other Cowboy and Country Songs $32
*Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely – "Till We Meet Again" $32. This is an extensive 32 track collection which features the smash hit "Slipping Around" and its answer song "I'll Never Slip Around Again". Cowboy crooner Wakely and Whiting's recordings are frequently sought but this is the first complete collection of their works even though quite a few were included on a Capitol compilation of Jimmy Wakely which is now well and truly deleted.
*Just Plain Folks: Songs of the Old Folks $32 27 tracks of mother & father telling stories of happiness, tragedy (of course!!), human frailty and even humorous ditties such "Put Down Your Shootin' Iron Pappy" by Esmereldy & Her Shotgun Five, as if you didn't know that. Certainly in vast contrast to Wilf Carter's "The Tramp's Mother" and Mattie O'Neill's "Don't Sell Daddy Any More Whiskey".
*Griddle Greasin' Daddies & Dirty Cowboys" $32 This one is proving to be popular and is basically an extended and delightful exercise in the use of double entrendre. Highlights are the pre-Capitol Skeets McDonald gem "The Tatooed Lady" as well as Hank Penny's "The Freckle Song" and "Let Me Play With Your Poodle". Great bawdy postcard style cover and guaranteed broadminded fun. 24 tracks. Certainly more presentable than Coe's albums but
*Hixville - We'll Have a Time, Yes Siree $32 Many of the big labels of the 50s would also have a custom production service where any Tom, Dick or Harry could, for a fee, record a song in their studio. Over the years some of these recordings became the mostly highly prized (and valued) songs among collectors and the 25 tracks on here which mainly cover hillbilly with a rockabilly or honky tonk leaning and have an exuberance which belies their lesser known qualities. Artists include Ray Mayo, Joe Bryant, Leo Ogletree, Red Mansel and Jerry Hopkins. Don't let the lack of a big name put you off.
Red Steagall - "Lone Star Beer & Bob Wills Music/ To All Our Cowboy Friends" $32 Two on one reissue which has seemingly just popped back into print after being unavailable for several years. Russell "Red" Steagall came from a genuine cowboy background and generally his MCA work (featured here) is acknowledged as his best.The former album consists of honky tonk with a bit of a swing leaning whilst the second features cowboy songs, most with a rodeo bent. Co-horts include Johnny Gimble and the Jordanaires. Great albums....both of them.
Candye Kane - "Guitar'd & Feathered" $32 She's big and bad and belts out the blues like nobody else. Includes a reunion of sorts with Sue"Beehive" Palmer on piano as well as some acoutic moments which feature the great Bob Brozman on National steel guitar. Always willing to send up her eccentric looks.
Rose Maddox - This Is Rose Maddox $28
Allen Frizzell - "I'm Just a Nobody" $32 The younger brother of Lefty has returned to the recording scene with a new gospel album. His only ever album before this was "A Piece of My Heart" which is about 20 years old and sadly can't be obtained for love or money. He started as guitarist in Dottie West's band and eventually fell in love and married Dottie's daughter Shelley. Keeping it in the family, his brother David began recording with Shelley and had his biggest hit with the duet "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma". Sadly the Allen Frizzell-Shelley West union failed and brother Dave consequently no longer recorded with her. I still can't believe that this is only Allen's second album because I honestly feel he is a better vocalist than his brother David. All bar three of the 11 songs are written or co-written by Allen and as Lefty never made a gospel album he has achieved something his most famous brethren was never able to do. He has the similar vocal style of adding a syllable to a word. Content is very heavy as far as the religion goes...certainly no anti honky tonk here but it brings goosebumps to hear that voice.
Arkey Blue - The Hills of Fredericksburg $32 When it comes to rustic and great Arkey Blue springs to the top of the list. he ain't pretty and makes Vernon Oxford seem like George Hamilton (the ultra tanned actor) by comparison. Yet I'd personally crawl over broken glass to hear a new Arkey Blue album; in fact I reckon a few who got to hear Arkey perform live would also be crawling over broken glass in the listening process! Literally! We have 13 new tracks all written by our hero and concerning themselves with his home 20 of Bandera Texas. We hear about "Johnny's Beer Joint", the "Honky Tonk School Girl", "Blue Bandera Christmas" etc. Glad to report that Dicky Overbey is featured on steel guitar and Arkey's main man Ron Knuth (pronounced ken-ooth by our hero) is his usual excellent self on fiddle. I'd take a thousand Arkey Blues over one Toby Keith any day! And twice on Sunday!
Patty Booker - "Fire & Brimstone" $32 One of the best Los Angeles based artists and for fans of the likes of Rose Maddox & Charlene Arthur she is hard to beat. 12 new songs and a rather bizarre (but rauchingly good) cover. Includes originals and covers. Tracks The Hell That I've Been Through/ Don't Go Back to Sleep/ Please Don't Lie to me/ Momma Knows/It's Been Nice Knowing You/ The One Way Hula/ Tomorrow Never Comes/ If I Believed in God/ wake Up Little Baby/ The Hand That Rocked His Cradle/ The Photograph/ Who Would I Be.
Bobby Flores - "Neon Lights" $32 The great honky tonk Texas fiddler is back with a great new album that keeps up his album a year record. A mainstay of our heroes of the ilk of Justin Trevino and Amber Digby, Bobby is a force to be reckoned with in his own right, and if you want a highlight you'd have to say it is "Who'll Be the First to Say (I Told You So)" which features the twin fiddles of Bobby and the previously mentioned Ron Knuth. Includes originals and covers, which take on a life of their own with Bobby's interpretations. 11 great tracks.
Robbie Fulks - "Revenge" 2cds $32 Robbie has has a checkered career since his debut "Country Love Songs" which had a wonderful cover with a crazed hillbilly about to bury an axe in his loved one's skull. That is the type of ironic humour that is behind the career of Fulks. As may have been expected there is an electric and acoustic set and the latter generally workd the best. Everything from Carter Family hymns to Cher covers (you read it correct). Great cover art also
Pam Tillis - "Rhinestoned" $28
Jon Byrd - Byrd's Auto Parts $30 Nashville indie on the Americana side of things and it fits in nicely along with the likes of The Skeeters, Jackson Taylor Band etc; honky tonk and story songs that owe more of a debt to the likes of Waylon than to artists of an earlier era. Includes a duet with Shannon Wright of that excellent duo, The Wrights. Would suit fans of Jerry Jeff, Chris Wall etc.
Jim Owens – Sings With Friends & Heroes $30 Jim put out an album of Hank Williams songs on CBS in the 70s and has made his reputation in a number of Hank Williams stage shows but is also a songwriter of note scoring his biggest hit with the Conway Twitty/Loretta classic "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man". Lots of tracks…22 in all and guests Include Mel Tillis (One More Drink & Others), Barbara Fairchild (Teddy Bear Song & Others) George Hamilton IV, Johnny Russell, Tommy Cash etc.
Nick Lowe - At My Age $28 Nick's conversational friendly downhome folksie style of post Impossible Bird continues and to be honest I like this better than the other two. Possibly this is more country than the others which some ignorant sods tried to classify as soul music. But then again philandering big noting ignoramuses do those things. Nick was a member of the
Bobby Pinson - Songs for Somebody $30 I didn't like his major label album, "A Man Like Me". Well I wasn't prepared to try real hard as my mate ,The Cosmic Cowboy battered my ears as to how good it was and then proceeded to conduct the overblown songs (he suffers from the rare genetic disease "conductivitis" in which he feels compelled to literally conduct along with a song…yes a la Arthur Fiedler). However 30 seconds of the new cd had me hooked. "Back in My Drinking Days" is as good as it gets. Bobby has an Outlawish quality to his voice and it is very effective on this track being mixed well forward with minimal backing. "If I Don't Make it Back" is about a soldier going off to war and his message to his buddies...don't grieve if I don't come back. I think the restraint (and lack of conductability!) make this everything that the first album wasn't. The rough edges have not been sandpapered beyond smooth and that is a plus. I am now a fan. Top drawer.
Bobby G Cargill and The Dos Rios Band - "Ordinary Man" $30 Texan from the Dallas area. Steeped in tradition he has recorded a full on country album with Corky Owens on steel and Mark Abbott on fiddle. Ordinary Man/ Test of Time/ Some Have to Lose/ Falling/ A Man's Broken Heart/ At the Bottom Bottle/ A Part of Me/ Going Home/ So Much in Love/ Heaven's Door/ Bad Luck/ Our legacy.
Guy Clark - Live from Austin dvd $30 This 1989 concert finds Guy at probably his musical peak. He is backed by Edgar Meyer on string bass and Stuart Duncan on fiddle and mandolin. He had just released his Sugar Hill Album "Old Friends" and does an excellent version of the title song. "That's a keeper", he wryly comments. Over an hour and his best known songs are given what are probably their definitive versions. Superb audio and visuals on all Austin City Limits dvds.
Best of the Flatt & Scruggs TV Shows Volume 1 & 2 $35 each Excellent quality, these dvds find Flatt & Scruggs at their musical peak. Over an hour on each and augmented by the whole group including the recently departed Uncle Josh Graves. Flatt is one of the consummate comperes with a warmth and downhomeliness that is hard to beat. These are the first of a series of 10 dvds that are projected for release. Each show also had special guests. Volume One finds Hylo Brown as one of the guests and as always there are a few gospel songs. Volume Two has Maybelle Carter along as special guest and the gospel highlight has Earl showing his dexterity on guitar.
Jimmy Dean - Best of the Jimmy Dean Show $28 Although he tends to grate, something that hasn't changed over the years, his show was one of the first to promote down home humour as well as showcase country acts from across the country. As such it predated both Hee Haw and The Johnny Cash Show (dvds of which were once going to be released but have been well & truly put on the backburner). Guests on this series of shows include Eddy Arnold, Buck Owens and Homer & Jethro .
Dave Alvin - Live in Austin $30 The Dave Alvin story as we know it began in the mid 80s when he made his first solo album which was pretty rocky in the overall scheme of things but featured a couple of wonderful ballads of which "Border Radio" has almost become Dave's theme song and along with "Out in California" his defining songs which are well to the fore on this dvd. Excellent production quality.
Jerry Lee Lewis - "Greatest Live Performances of the 50s, 60s and 70s" $35 Highlights are the performances from the Ralph Emery Show which sees Jerry perform in his best country style but also sees him perform with his cousin Mickey Gilley; pity his other cousin Reverend Jimmy didn't make it along. A bit of a hodge podge but the content is great even if it doesn't have a lot of continuity. Jerry did more of it and better than anyone else. If you don't believe me just ask him!!
dvd Willie Nelson & Ray Price - "In Concert" $25
Barbara Mandrell - Best of Barbara Mandrel & the Mandrell Sisters Show 2dvds $45 Guests include Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash, Dolly Parton, Alabama, Kenny Rogers, John Schneider, Glen Campbell, Ray Charles, Marty Robbins etc. Great value as 3 hour duration. And you have to admire someone who can go through life with the name Irlene! Louise was a bit of a fox! At the time the awards shows virtually belonged to Barbara.
Bob Brozman - Live in Germany $35 Recorded live in Germany in 2005 this dvd sees Bob running through a selection of country blues from the traditional to the songs he has written. Quality is excellent and it runs for 120 minutes.
Dierks Bentley - Live and Loud at the Fillmore $35 Full show including encore. Runnning time is 90 minutes and there are some impressive behind the scene extras. Includes selectiosn from all his 3 albums. 20 songs in all.
Charlie Daniels - Charlie Daniels CDB Live $30 120 minutes which feature Charlie's signature "Devil Went Down to Georgia" along with his anthemic "South's Gonna Do It Again" and a host of others.
dvd Cletus T Judd - The Essenshul Video Colelction $28 12 videos plus interviews etc. The videos vary from hilarious to moronic.
dvd Tim Wilson - "Live In Atlanta" $30 Mainly stand up stuff of which some is funny and some cringing material. What are great though are his songs and it is a pity he doesn't do more of this type of things as they are very funny but also well structured. "First Baptist Bar & Grill" tells of the Southern Baptist church burning down and the congregation finding new headquarters in a bar. "Brother-in-Law' and the "George Song" are also highlights.
dvd George Jones & Friends - 50th Anniversary Concert 2dvds $30 Mainly other artists performing George's best known hits whilst George looks on rather flummoxed at the whole thing. There are some great performances notably Trick Pony's brilliant version of "The Race is On" which features Heidi Newfield blowing a mean blues harp. George does feature on duets with Shelby Lynne (how short must she be...even George towers over her and he is about Paul Williams size), Randy Travis, Connie Smith (how good) and Wynonna (he looks scared). Also includes interviews and a couple of video clips. George has lost a lot of his range but he still is great.
Ozark Mountain Daredevils - 1980 Reunion $30 Hour dvd features the original group performing together for the first time in 5 years as they run through their hits "Chicken Train", "Jackie Blue", "If You wanna Get to heaven" plus 11 others. running time just over an hour.
Charlie Louvin - "Charlie Louvin " $30…back to cds You'd have to say that Charlie Louvin's voice is completely stuffed. You may even go a step or two further. Nonetheless there is much to like about this album due to the fact it is a duets album, which largely explores the works of the Louvin Brothers without attempting to replicate the harmonies....believe me Charlie singing harmony with George Jones would not have been pretty but trading lines on "Must You Throw Dirt on My Hands" and "Waiting for a Train" the results are warm and maybe even has a tinge of sadness attached to it as it is apparent that George is also not the vocalist he used to be. Tift Merritt and Joy Lynn White are great on "Grave on the Green Hillside". "Ira" is handled by Charlie and sees him foreseeing a reunion of the Louvin Brothers in the not too distant future. The breakup of the brothers was largely due to Ira's drinking and Charlie must have felt a few pangs of guilt after Ira was killed in an auto accident two years after the split before they had the opportunity to reconcile. Elvis Costello is a great foil on "When I Stop Dreaming" , the title of the excellent Louvin Brothers "Greatest Hits" album. That album, this album and the Tribute album, "Livin' Lovin' & Losin'" would be a great place to start a Louvin Brothers' collection without springing for the fabulous but pricey Bear Family box set.
Drew Scott - Long Way Back from San Antone $32 Latest release on the Country Discovery label, one which we have great success with and has been enjoyed by many people over the years. Honcho Mike Headrick is one of the best independent country producers with an excellent track history with artists such as Benny Berry and Shane Worley. As well as producer his skills on guitar and steel guitar offer enhancement to any album. leans heavily toward the honky tonk tradition, though the self explanatory "Sunday Morning in a Little Town" certainly has a lot of Down Home appeal. "Boots & Brew" and the title track are more typical of the album.
David Ball - Heartaches by the Number $30. Great cd but....the but being that it is a covers album; all but one track that is, and that track "Please Feed the Jukebox" is in every way the album's best. Ball is a uniformly fine singer but is also a uniformly fine writer and we could have done with a few more of his fine songs. The tracks are: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down/ Stop the World & Let Me Off/Heartaches by the Number/ Sweet Dreams/ Please Feed the Jukebox/ There Stands the Glass/ Faded Love/ What's Going on in your World/ Half as Much/ Please Help Me I'm Falling/ I'm walking the Dog.
Jann Browne - "Buckin' Around - A Tribute to the Legendary Buck Owen" $32 From the opening "Love's Gonna Live Here Again" to the concluding "Playgirl" (a feminised version of "Playboy") this is unrelentedly grand. Jann's slightly husky vocals (a legacy of a love of camels...cigarettes that is) suits the songs down to the ground and it is an interesting take to hear them performed by a female vocalist. The cream of West Coast country musicians provide great support. Skip Edwards on keyboards and Scott Joss on fiddle were once Dwight Yoakam sidemen whilst Jay Dee Maness who has played with Buck is as good as it gets. Great vocal support is provided on "Sweethearts in Heaven" by Iris DeMent and Joy Lynn White no less. The recording was even done through a valve amp to try and get the authentic sound this project demanded. Great stuff.
T G Shepherd dvd $25 The first dvd of TG featuring all his hits includes Last Cheaters Waltz etc. 80 minutes
Leonard Cohen Reissues
dvd Roy Rogers - The Ultimate Roy Rogers Collection 5 dvds $35 25 Roy Rogers movies including some making their first appearance on dvd. There are a lot of dodgy copies out there but this is a genuine issue that doesn't take advantages of lapsed copyrights. Goes for around 27 hours!!
TV Shows on DVD latest (all US Region 1)
*Alias Smith & Jones Season 1 $70
Live in Austin dvds Each $30
*Jerry Lee Lewis The consummate ham! His "Last Man Standing" showed him to have slowed a pace or two and this cd doesn't exactly have him doing handstands but has more lively a performance all round. He does a mixture of country and rock & roll. He does a great version of "Chantilly Lace"…this is the Killer calling!! And after his performance at the Palomino Club must have had a few wondering what he would come up with on "No Headstone on My Grave". From 1998 wit ha running time of around an hour.
*Lynyrd Skynyrd 67 minutes from April 2000 episode performing all favorites., including "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Freebird".
*Eliza Gilkyson Delightful folky singer who has a pedigree of being daughter of Terry Gilkyson of The Easyriders group. Adept at writing her own material or doing exquisite covers such as Dylan's "Love Minus Zero- No Limit". This is from 2001 and features her ful lone hour show.
*Buck Owens Shortish but excellent dvd filmed after Buck's early 90s comeback. First official dvd from the late and great Buck.
*Cory Morrow – Live from Austin
Nashville Major label.
We will have copies of some of these in the bargain bin. Please call for best price on them. Applies to any other pop country items as well.
*Stephen Stills "Just keep the Tapes Rolling" $30 In 1968 after leaving Buffalo Springfield but before starting his membership of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Stills was at a recording session with his then girl friend Judy Collins when during a break he began a session which lasted a few hours and would featured first ever versions of songs that would later become standbys of his solo career and of the albums of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) as well as Manassas. Released for the first time after snippets were used in some sought after bootleg recordings.
*Ry Cooder Japanese Reissues. Each will be remastered and presented in mini lp sleeves. That is they replicate the original lp covers. The Japanese remastering is spectacular. Albums in this series are each $32: Note: We will be importing directly from Japan and are ecstatic about the quality of the product.
TV Shows on dvd Due soon. Note these are NOT available locally.
*Baa Baa Black Sheep Season 2 $80
Bear Family News
Latest Releases ...arriving mid July.
*Homer & Jethro Assault the Rock & Roll Era $35 deluxe digipak with 64 page booklet. Great cover. 31 songs that in many instances parody hits of the day, which are all tagged "No 2" to distinguish them from the original, not that they need such a tagging. Their one previous cd on Razor & Tie is now deleted but was not as good as this. Apart from the humour there is a lot of great music with the likes of Grady Martin, Chet Atkins and Hank Garland (not to mention Homer & Jethro themselves).
*Ernest Tubb - Thirty Days: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight $32 Who would have thought that Ernest Tubb could have turned Chuck Berry's "Thirty Days" into a full on country romp, complete with usual call to guitarist Billy Byrd who contributes some classic licks. This 30 tracker features the uptempo side of the Texas Troubadour and with a running time of 77 minutes + is great value. Includes many gems such as "Ain't Going Honky Tonkin' Anymore", "My Hillbilly Baby", "My Tennessee Baby" as well as "Mister Blues" and his duet with Red Foley on "Tennessee Border No. 2". Great stuff.
*Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight: Various Artists 30 tracks $32 It may have been easy to fill a cd with Ernest Tubb's upbeat material but a lot of artists only touched on rock and roll influenced songs and this cd tracks those. Edy Arnold is great on "Hep Cat Baby", as are the likes of Johnnie & Jack, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Lawton Williams, Jack Turner (who predates Elvis' version of "Hound Dog" by three years)...that's not to mention Terry fell (and the Fellers!), Charlene Arthur etc. Includes 52 page book.
*"How the West Was Won" $35 Soundtrack "Living Stereo" presentation. 34 tracks featuring the likes of Bing Crosby, Sam Hinton, Rosemary Clooney, Jimmie Driftwood and even the Mormon Tubercular Choir (what's that...sorry Tabernacle). Includes the deluxe digipack presentation.
*Leon McAuliffe - "Take it Away Leon" $32 26 tracks. This collects Leon's Dot recordings, which are featured on cd for the first time. Leon was of course best known as steel guitarist for Bob Wills' Texas Playboys but went on to make many recordings in his own right. As well as a steel guitarist he was also a fine vocalist. He is joined by Cecil Brower & Keith Coleman on fiddle, guitarist Billy Dozier and pianist Pee Wee Calhoun.
*Mack Self "Easy to Love: The Sun Years Plus" 31 tracks $32 A fellow Arkansas traveller with Conway Twitty this collection features every title recorded by Self at Sun which also includes 19 previously unissued tracks.
Collector's Choice Great reissue label out of Chicago. All from the original tapes!
$10 Cds or 3 for $25
Adkins, Trace More
Bargain Bin cds:
All are $18 unless noted. This is not everything. Please feel free to request if we have other cds of a particular artist. Again if there are any bluegrass albums you are after please enquire. This is a summary only
Adkins, Sammy Tribute to Keith Whitley (Crosscut)
Highlights.....last copies of two great albums.
"Happy Birthday Buck" $20 Excellent lineup including David Ball, Rodney Crowell, Derailers, Rick Trevino, Rosie Flores and Buck Owens himself. 22 tracks. Certainly one of the best tribute albums.
"Wandering Eyes - Tales of Forbidden Love" $20 Nobody has ever sung a cheating song like the great Mel Street and this unique collection features several Street songs presented by Dale Watson. There are also some wonderful contributions by Kelly Willis and Ted Roddy's "Cheating Traces" may surprisingly be the best of the lot. Now, how does that go....in reference to this and the Buck Tribute....they are not to be missed
Adkins, Trace Dangerous Man $20
*Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash $20 (with Willie Nelson, Carlene Carter., who duets with Ronnie Dunn on "Jackson", Loretta, Billy Bob Thornton with the delightful Peasall Sisters, Billy Joe Shaver etc)
Few AlternateBlack, Mary Full Tide
Burch, Paul East to West
Dowd, Johnny Wrong Side of Memphis
Drennen, Brad So Much More
Elliott, Ronny Magneto $20
Elliott, Ronny A Postcard from Jack $20
Elliott, Ronny Poisonville $20
Elliott, Ronny Hep $20
Elliott, Ronny Valentine Roadkill $20
Elliott, Ronny My Nerves Are Bad Tonight $20
Elliott, Ronny And the Nationals
Fulks, Robbie Very Best
Hendrix, Terri The Art of Removing Wallpaper
Hillbilly Idol Lights of Town
Lowe, Nick Dig My Mood
Lowe, Nick Impossible Bird
M'Carver, Kimberley Cross the Danger Line
Miller, Jim Herd I'm Drinkin' (from Donna the Buffalo)
Paul, Ellis Essentials 2cds $25
Richey, Kim The Collection $20
Rung, Brian Brian Rung (The Texas Bob Dylan)
Sykes, Keith All I Know
Thompson, Linda Fashionably Late
Thornton, Billy Bob Hobo $20
Uncle Earl Waterloo Tennessee
Wilcox, David Vista
DVDSChet Atkins & Friends - Tribute to Chet Atkins $20
Patsy Cline - Crazy A Portrait $18
Tracy Byrd - Best $10 (video clips)
Books1)Vinyl Hayride: Country Music Album Covers 1947-1989 $35 12 x 12 p.b. book which is exactly what it says. Let me give you a hint. This is a great book to destroy....well maybe destroy is the wrong word but what you do is find your favourite album covers, cut them out stick them together and frame them. You get many to choose from. All your favourite Porter Wagoner covers and all your favourite George Jones covers. The individual pictures are either 12 x 12 cm or 25 x 25 cm. with a little imagination you can create the Sistine Chapel in your lounge room if you are so desirous. The Louvin Brothers "Satan is Real" is my personal choice as the all time great album cover and it is a 25x25 cm job. I also like Merle Travis "Folk Songs from the Hills", alas only 12 x 12. More than 250 covers in all. Get me the scissors....
2)Only the Lonely: The Roy Orbison Story 10th Anniversary Special Edition $25 Alan Clayson p.b. 254 pages
3)George Jones: Why Baby Why $20 Jim Brown p.b. 227 pages 2001
4)Working Man Blues: Country Music in California $35 379 pages. Gerald Haslam Large hard cover book, splendidly written and presented. Everyone from the Maddox Brothers and Rose to Merle Hagagrd, Buck Owens and beyond.
5)Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams $25 Paul Hemphill 207 pages hard cover Well written and rivetting.
a)Cash - The Biography: Patrick Carr 310 pages hard Cover
b)Literary Cash: Unautorised Writings Inspired by the legendary Johnny Cash $18 257 pages p.b.Bob Batchelor editor.
c)Cash:By the editors of Rolling Stone Magazine $30 Large size hard cover book especially well illustrated with ultra high quality paper which satisfies anyone with a paper smelling fetish (of whom I am one). Some ultra rare photographs and an album review section as well. Nice one!
7)Lennon Remembers: Jann Wenner $25 152 page hard cover book which has the complete Rolling Stones a magazine interview in which Lennon opens up and even discusses Beatles' songs and which ones he wrote and which Paul wrote and on which they collaborated. Fascinating for Beatles' fans.