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May 2005 NewsletterYesterday & Today Records
255A Church St
Parramatta NSW 2150
email: [email protected]
Post: 1cd $2/ 2cds $3/ 3/4 cds $5
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Some good news.....Collector's Choice Label
We have referred favourably to this excellent reissue label out of Chicago. They have a diverse range of reissues in their catalogue; many are straight reissues of albums, with many having two lps on a single cd. Their quality is first class as well. We are pleased to advise great price reductions across the board on this label. We can assure you, you will not find these everywhere. Following is a list of all the titles I feel you may be interested in. The Everly Brothers titles are April releases. All the others are already out.
Amazing Rhythm Aces Stacked Deck/Too Stuffed $25
**ALL CDS LISTED ARE US IMPORTS UNLESS NOTED.**
Rick Sousley - "Patsy Proof" $32 This is a gem. In fact the opening title cut rivals Mark Chesnutt's "Too Cold at Home" and Doug Stone's "Better Off In a Pine Box" as the best opening track on any album I have ever heard. A classic Hank Cochran/ Vern Gosdin/ Max D Barnes song (once covered by Hank himself) it is of course about the unchallengeable Patsy Cline. It starts with some mournful steel guitar courtesy of Mike Johnson, some wonderful piano (Greg Cole, who also dabbles on drums though presumably not at the same time) but the entrance of the vocalist just raises things another level. A classic clenched jaw delivery, maybe a bit reminiscent of George Strait at his very very best, this is as good as it gets. Nothing could beat it; at worst it could be a penalty goal shootout. The rest of the album is right up there as well. The producer, Jimmie Adams contributes several songs which never deviate from being stone country excellent. "16 Bars from Luckenbach" is a terrific Texas honky tonk song. He loses nothing to the above mentioned Doug Stone on "Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride at All" whilst the album closes on another drinking song, "Mr Whiskey". 11 songs in all and, along with David Oxford's long gone gem of quite a few years ago, the best produced independent we have had.
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion - "Exploration" $30 I like Arlo's daughter Sarah Lee (what else?) a lot. Her clear folky voice contrasts nicely with that of her husband, Johnny Irion who has a nice style reminiscent of the more countrier sides of Neil Young. They so some real country tracks (eg "Swing of Things) but are seemingly more comfortable on the folkier offerings. She has the pedigree and the talent. A little reminiscent of Gram Pasrons and Emmylou.
Johnny Cash - dvd "Live from Montreux" $35
Mike Rodgers - Honky Tonk Hitman $30 Tootsie's Orchid Lounge is the most famous drinking hole in Nashville and still a place where you'd be shot if you dared to sing something that wasn't real country music. Mike has become something of an institution there with a weekly residence. He has obtained his name by means of the fact he is also a boxer; now that's a first a singer who is his own bouncer. Has a sound reminiscent of Merle Haggard meets Dwight Yoakam; equally adept on the up-tempo songs and ballads. No wimpy stuff here...songs about prisons, drinking etc. He wrote 7 of the 10 songs; one of the covers is associated with Moe Bandy, "Motel Matches". Interesting backing band, The Creek Bed Crickets! Also said to be a grand nephew of Jimmie Rodgers!
Steve Young - Songlines Revisited $32 new recordings of his classic songs. The White Trash Song / Long Way To Hollywood/ Montgomery In The Rain/ Ragtime Blue Guitar / Rocksalt & Nails/ Gonna Find Me A Bluebird/ Alabama Highway/ Lonesome, On'ry & Mean/Seven Bridges Road/My Oklahoma
Becky Hobbs - Songs from the Road of Life $32 Whilst Becky is probably best known for being somewhat of a manic piano pounder she has also shown she can write a good and sensitive song as evidenced by the Alabama hit, "Angels Among Us". This album features that side. Her slightly husky voice is as strong as ever and co-writers include Dene Anton (who had one very good album out) and Byron Hill (often a co-writer with the great Mike Dekle). Mind you she still pounds away especially on the opener, "Woman Getting Older" and the excellent swing of "Live Until You Die", and "Kiss My Ashes" (nice play on words), all of which suggest she isn't getting older, just better. 12 songs in all.
John Prine - "Fair & Square"$30 A new John Prine album is an event to celebrate. It seems like yesterday I purchased his first record down at Ashwoods for the princely sum of $2.75 and immediately knew this was someone as good as I had/have ever heard. His folk/country style was friendly and intimate and he had something to say. Songs such as "Hello in There", "Sam Stone" and "Paradise" soon became standards and his skills never appeared to wane. Along the way there were a few hiccups. "Pink Cadillac" and "Storm Windows" were a bit of a worry though they still contained gems such as "One Red Rose" and "Killing the Blues". He started his own label, Oh Boy records and continued to grow as an artist. "The Missing Years" from the mid 90s was as good as anything he had ever done. Great songs, excellent production and some of the wicked Prine wit at its best. The follow up, "Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings" was not quite as good but hell if "Missing Years" was Tiger Woods, then "Lost Dogs" was probably Ernie Els. Since then he has had 3 albums out. "Live on Tour" was a bit of a flop..slightly rocked up versions of his classics. "Souvenirs" saw him go back and record some of his early songs using the better technology available. But the true gem was an album on which he only had one original song. That song was of course also the name of the album, "In Spite of Ourselves" and featured Iris Dement in partnership singing some of the screwiest lyrics ever recorded. This duet album was all cheating songs and also included contributions from great female vocalists such as Connie Smith and Melba Montgomery. Then, tragedy struck. Prine was diagnosed with cancer in his neck which required extensive treatment. It would be beyond sad to think he may have sung his last. Thankfully that was not the case. "Fair & Square" shows his witty observational skills have not diminished one iota. Guests include Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and the likes of Shawn Camp on lead guitar and Pat McLaughlin on any number of instruments. 14 new songs. God bless him!
Carl & Pearl Butler/Johnny & Jonie Mosby - Best Of: A Family Affair $30 14 tracks by the Butlers & 5 by the Mosbys. Wonder why Koch did it this way? Anyway it is spectacularly good with the classic lying, cheating and drinking song being well to the fore. Carl's impassioned vocal on "Don't Let Me Cross Over", arguably the best ever cheating song (or near cheating song I suppose) typifies their style. Some great musicians and duet singing at its best. The Mosbys are also very good especially on "Don't Call Me from a Honky Tonk", a great Harlan Howard song. Really love this cd but it would have been better had there been a full cd of both artists. Yeah, hard to please, ain't I!
Forty Twenty - Sober & Stupid $30 A shame that something as good as this should have such an annoyingly stupid cover. All 13 songs are group originals and with 3 vocalists who seemingly all take leads there is plenty of variety. The music is Texas honky tonk meets rockabilly/hillbilly with a little bit of Jason and the Scorchers chucked in on a couple of tracks. The lyrics are witty with a few surprises eg the ending on "Skunk Yodel #7" and the honky tonk delights of the title song.
The Geezinslaws - "The Eclectic Horsemen" $32 Long awaited new album from Son & Sam who were last on the now defunct Step One Records. Normally, many would be apprehensive about buying a live album; with the Geezinslaws you'd be hesitant if it wasn't. Dwayne Smith (Son) takes most of the vocals, whilst Sam is the spokesman of the group and the reason why a live Geezinslaw album is a must. There are a lot of surprises, none probably greater than Willie joining Sam on a bluegrassy version of "Stairway to Heaven". There is a classic great new song by Bruce Robison which features a duet between Son (who of the two is the more classic country vocalist) and Kelly Willis. The song is as good as the title; "Thank You Miss Audrey for Breaking Hank's Heart". There are 13 songs and some jokes highlighted by Sam's peerless delivery. Nice photo gallery in the notes with a selection of vintage and session photographs. Kinky Friedman also joins the boys for a tremendous rendition of his great love song, "Elvis and Marilyn".
Tom Russell - "Hotwalker" $32 Tom Russell is one of my favourite artists yet I find this pretentious and totally unfulfilling. I would almost say it is the end of Hightone Records, who at one time could do no wrong and were the best company going when apart from Tom they could boast a roster of Dave Alvin, Heather Myles, Dale Watson, Big Sandy and the Flyright Boys etc. They were responsible for the brilliant "Tulare Dust", a singer songwriter tribute boasting such talents as Lucinda Williams, Katy Moffatt, Dwight etc. Now, it seems about all they have is Tom, an artist with a superb catalogue of music. So, did Tom point the dagger at the Hightone honchos and say either release this or I'm out of here? That is what I am thinking and if that is the case then it is a huge mistake by both. There are 19 tracks listed but only 3 songs, which are great. But interspersed with some spaghetti style western music (which is not too bad) we have the seemingly endless rantings of the likes of Charles Bukowski, Lenny Bruce and worst of the lot, Little Jack Horton, billed as a circus midget, but at best comes across as a poor man's Billy Barty, and if he was in the movie "Terror of Tiny Town" is certainly not one of the billed stars. Some may say they like it...love it even...but I just cannot see why; and I bet if we got them on their own and quizzed them a little we may get a slightly different opinion.
Rhonda Vincent & the Rage - "Ragin' Live" dvd $35 cd $32 Have to say the dvd is the best bet with 21 tracks and a hot band. Recorded at the spectacular Sheldon Concert Hall in St Louis Missouri, Ms Vincent and band are in cracking form. Talk about glamour. A slinky evening dress and stilettos are as far removed from what you would normally expect in a bluegrass concert but in the words of Rod Stewart, she wears it well. Josh Williams, a fine artist in his own right is a great guitarist whilst fiddler Hunter Berry is stunning (and provides a humorous moment when Rhonda's daughter Sally lends a hand on "One Step Ahead of the Blues). Rhonda is also as adept on the mandolin and fiddle as she is on vocals, which have won her multiple awards. All band members have a solo spot. 21 tracks and spectacularly recorded. As a bonus the dvd contains a documentary, "Sally Mountain Memories" about Rhonda's hometown of Greentop, Missouri. Nice.
Radney Foster - Back Porch Sessions $32 This is the best thing Radney had done since his debut "Del Rio Texas 1959". It is an unplugged album, marketed on Radney's web site; you won't find it in the stores (well apart from this one).
Rattlesnake Annie Sings Willie Nelson $32 Annie McGowan, known the world over as Rattlesnake Annie (or some derivative thereof) is a real musical chameleon. She may seem like a folk singer, a blues singer or a country singer depending on what she is singing. Willie's songs are ideally suited to her style(s). Best of the lot is her interpretation of the classics "Yesterday Wine" and "My Own Peculiar Way" whilst she is stunning on the tragic "Jimmy's Road", one of Willie's saddest songs. As a bonus of sorts we get "Long Black Limousine", originally on one of Annie's CBS albums in the early 1980s. I personally rate this Willie's best ever duet. Spectacularly developed it just mesmerises when firstly Willie's guitar comes in followed by his vocal. Annie is a unique artist.
Kim Carnes - Chasin' Wild Trains $32 Marketed on her own label out of Nashville, this cd features 12 songs written or co-written by Kim and presented in a largely acoustic unplugged setting. Still a pop artist, and still with a unique husky voice. BUT this is pretty sophisticated pop music, not country.
Bellamy Brothers - Vol 1 Angels & Outlaws Volume One $32 Bellamy Brothers recruit a number of friends on mostly reprises of well known songs. "You Ain't Just a Whistling Dixie" features Alan Jackson and it is a fine opening number. The much loved "Old Hippie" features Montgomery-Gentry. Maybe a tad disappointing they didn't update it even again. Other guests include Dolly Parton, on what else but "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body", George Jones on "Sugar Daddy" (sounds a bit past it), as well as Pat Green, Trini Triggs (whatever happened to his album?), Tanya Tucker with David Allan Coe and John Anderson on the top dollar "Alligator Alley". David Bellamy and brother Howard have been hit makers for 30 years, and still have a little life in them yet.
Hayes Carll - Little Rock $30 He sings of honky tonks and bars and life in West Texas but not in a honky tonk style a la the mighty Cornell Hurd but more so the folksier style of earlier Steve Earle or Guy Clark. Guy Clark co-wrote "Rivertown" whilst he enlists the help of young Texans John Evans (some sage advice...his second album is one of the worst I've ever heard which is sad as his songs here show great talent) and Adam Carroll as well as the not so young Ray Wylie Hubbard. Styles range from lovely acoustic ballads to the upbeat "Down the Road Tonight". Best track may be the Guy Clark co-write, "Rivertown" with some excellent steel guitar from Bucky Baxter.
Jimmy LaFave - Blue Nightfall $32 Jimmy LaFave may be an acquired taste, the same way the likes of Mickey Newbury and Steve Young are. He has a gentler style on this album than on earlier offerings with some nice backing, principally Jimmy himself on a variety of guitars, Radoslav Lorkovic on keyboards (not your typical country name) and Warren Hood (son of the late Champ Hood) on fiddle and mandolin. All tracks are written by Jimmy except the delightful "Revival" by Gretchen Wilson. No Dylan songs this time round, which may disappoint the hardcore LaFave fans.
Craig Morgan - My Kind of Living $32 If you accept that there is very little country content on anything coming out of the Nashville major labels and offshoots(and there isn't) then you basically have to reassess priorities and look for things that are not as overtly pop as the likes of Keith Urban, who for the life of me I cannot see as anything but the slickest pop of the worst kind. On that basis Craig Morgan is probably as country as it gets on Music Row nowadays and whilst a little smooth for my own tastes. There are several homespun tales with a rural theme which I find pleasant, and had I not been the harshest critic of Nashville country I may have actually embraced.
Merle Lindsay and His Oklahoma Nite Riders 1946-1952 $34 Krazy Kat label in the UK have put out quite a few Western Swing cds, of varying quality, but this is one of the very best. I had been aware of Merle Lindsay through his selections on a couple of the Proper box sets, which I had really enjoyed but I gained a better appreciation through his participation on one of the Bear Family Town Hall Party dvds where he comes across as an extremely personable bandleader with a sound something like PeeWee King, and which is enforced on this cd featuring 28 great tracks. From an historical point of view these recordings are right up there with those of the better known Western swing bands. They have a very full sound with most cuts featuring twin fiddles and a couple of horn men. Don Tolle, who had a tenure with Johnnie Lee Wills is excellent on guitar.
Chely Wright - Metropolitan Hotel $32 Now ain't this a surprise. Chely had gone from being an energetic country artist with a similarity to the likes of Danni Leigh and Heather Myles to some sort of contrived country pop diva to being a classy singer songwriter even though there are hints of an overwrought contrivance on the track "Bumper of My S.U.V." But then again it must be an emotional time for families of frontline troops in the War Against Terror and as such is probably the best song yet about that war. "It's the Song" is an excellent summary of the haves and have nots of a working musician. "The River" is an apparently true story of the death of two friends. "South Side of Lonesome" (nice title) is all about a shattered relationship. So as far as Ms Wright goes...the first and third versions are decidedly superior to the second. Dualtone is the best label in the world of country music and this merely enforces that.
Jessi Alexander - Honeysuckle Sweet $28 New female singer songwriters on major labels are not exactly dropping out of the skies and when they are half decent it is even better. "I'd Run Right Back To You" , the only song she hasn't co-written is in every way the best on the album and the one most likely to provide a break through. We all know the story. Gal falls in love with a loser and try as she might she'll keep running right on back. "Unfulfilled" is of a similar them; a little like the plot of one of those successful southern themed Sally Field movies of the 1980s. "The Long Way" has even more of a southern flavour. Vocally she reminds a little of Kathy Baillie of Baillie and the Boys fame, especially on the more laid back tracks. Incidentally, the first of this cd I sold went to Mr Bill Oddie of the Goodys; seems to be quite a fan of the genre and exhibited enough to show his taste is not too shabby at all. It is always nice to meet a celebrity and find they are pretty decent down to earth folks.
Bill Boyds Cowboy Ramblers Vol 2 $30 Second volume combining a mix of vocals and instrumentals from one of the best vintage western swing bands.
Joan Baez - Any Day Now $33 Fully remastered version of Joan Baez's Dylan album, originally a double lp and recorded in Nashville with a lot of Normans and Norberts in tow it is one of her best albums with lots of high points. Great version of "Love is Just a Four Letter Word".
Skeeters - Easy for the Takin' $32 The Skeeters are an embodiment of the Outlaw movement of the 70s and 80s. Lead vocalist Bert Newton (no, not that Bert Newton) has a similar timbre to that of Waylon Jennings but the album has a feel of the whole Outlaw movement rather than just being a Waylon . They do a spectacular version of an obscure Billy Joe Shaver song, "Alabama Love Song"; a lovely ballad which Bert handles beautifully. As far as independents go this is hard to fault. A very nice digi-pak and excellent sound added to 14 excellent and mainly original songs and this is pretty much a must.
Bob Plunkert -"Something Called Happiness" $32 My only reservation about this album is that Bob's voice is a little bit Daniel O'Donnell-ish for my taste, though the production and backing is just first class. There are some excellent songs and the pickers are superb; with the likes of Hargus "Pig" Robbins on piano and Hank Singer on fiddle being to the fore. It is just a little light. A must for the "go the Knights" gal!
Jimmy Buffett - Live in Hawaii $35 2cds + dvd. Long set with a fair representation of guests including Martin Denny, with whom Buffett's band do an excellent version of the classic "Quiet Village". Also along is Henry Kapono who wrote perhaps Buffett's most popular stage song in "Whey Don't We Get Drunk". Buffett does a nice version of "It's Five O'Clock" somewhere, which gives an insight into its original recording with Alan Jackson. 30 songs/2cds and a dvd containing about 20 minutes of action from the shows and the audience participation therein.
Jarrod Birmingham - Stages $32 Good independent country music which again has an outlawish feel to it. There is certainly a swing to the outlaw movement once more and that can't be all bad. He is probably more influenced by the sound of Hank Williams Jnr than Waylon and co. Presumably he is backed by his road band and Scott Fojt is a darn good guitarist. "Guilty" is about honky tonk living and he accepts full liability for his lifestyle. "Whiskey and Lies" is all about temptation and the similarity between the two; whiskey being the conscience clearer. Some nice accordian touches on this, as well as some excellent acoustic finger picking from the versatile Bobby Flores. "Let's Get it On" is another song about his life on the road. "I Can't Imagine (Not Loving You)" is a terrific duet with Bonnie Bishop. "I Talk to Jesus" is a quasi gospel number. Nice cd.
Jackson Taylor Band - "Goin' Down Swingin'" $32 is about the 4th album the prolific Jackson has released in the same number of years. In addition there is a new cd compilation, "Outlaw" $32 which is a collection of 17 tracks from the first 3 albums. He still is mainly pedal to the metal outlaw style artist a la Hank Williams Jnr or Billy Joe Shaver (he actually covers "Country State of Mind' and "Ragged Old Truck". He has also included the usual redneck anthem and "Titties and Beer" is a none too subtle but nonetheless enjoyable romp.
Lee Ann Womack - "There's More Where That Came From" $32 Welcome back...the real Lee Ann Womack. I would have to say that her previous "Something Worth Leaving Behind" was one of the worst ever cds I have had with its ludicrous grunge style guitars and rock base. It attempted to expand her horizons but failed miserably both critically and chartwise. That is one reason why this album is so good, as it goes back to the first self titled album where her style on tracks such as "Never Again Again" was a throwback to the great female sounds of yesterday. The cover reminds of an early Tanya Tucker album circa 1974-75 and the music harps back to an earlier year as well. There is a hidden track, "Just Someone I Used to Know" which is so good it makes you wonder why record companies persist with this form of token wankiness. Titles such as "Twenty Years and Two Husbands Later", by Dean Dillon are as good as it gets. It is country as well; real country! Incidentally the Dillon song is a less than subtle re-working of an earlier song of his which he recorded many years ago, entitled "Ten Years and Two Babies Later". I suppose if you have to steal off anyone it may as well be yourself!!
Deana Carter - Story of My Life $32 First album on Vanguard but unfortunately attempts to cross over to pop and I would defy anyone who was entranced by the delightful "Did I Shave My Legs For This" to be even able to recognise the vocalist. "Katie" is a nice subtle song and "Atlanta & Birmingham" isn't bad either. But there are even a few over the top nuances and inflections which have crept into her vocals which sound unnatural and contrived; Maybe it was a trade; the old Lee Ann Womack in exchange for a new Deana Carter. Think I'll take the former.
Doug Stone - "In a Different Light" $32 First album in a couple or three years from Mr Doug Brooks aka Doug Stone and it is a good one. Nice vocals, a couple of reprises of previously recorded songs (included the excellent "Why Didn't I Think of That"), a few standards ("Georgia on My Mind" & "Only You"...both given new life) and a few new songs. 14 tracks in all
Norma Jean - "Loneliest Star in Texas" $32 Porter Wagoner first gave her the name "Pretty Miss Norma Jean" (after Red Foley had "removed" her surname for stage purposes and many will argue that she was Porter's best duet partner. This new album shows she still has heaps to offer. Her voice is strong and the production (by Justin Trevino) is first class. I think steel guitarist Dickie Overby is right up there with the very best in the history of country music. He may not be as well known as the likes of Emmons or Green but believe me he loses nothing in comparison and it is great to hear him on so many albums out of Texas. When combined with fiddler, Bobby Flores, you have a team equal to any in the history of country music. As a bonus, the fabulous Amber Digby provides backing vocals. In addition to the 13 songs from Norma we get a fantastic tribute song, "Pretty Miss Norma Jean" sung by Wanda Jackson. This is the stuff that give goose bumps. There are a mixture of new and old songs and some clever covers. An early Waylon song, "Anita You're Dreaming" is just terrific whilst she covers Johnnie and Jack's "Ashes of Love" as a duet with Wanda, and reprises an old hit, Harlan Howard's great "Go Cat Go", in which a woman tells her boyfriend, who finds her a little too conservative for his needs to "Go Cat Go"...if you don't like it lump it! As good as Wanda's fabulous "Heart Trouble" from last year.
Levi Mullen - Singer Without a Song $30
Miranda Lambert - "Kerosene" $30 She featured in the first series of Nashville Star, where she was considered the favourite gal in the contest and ultimately did a duet with Buddy Jewell on his debut album. Her long awaited album went to the top of the Billboard charts first week in; it doesn't hurt to be blonde haired and gorgeous I suppose. She is young and enthusiastic and I'd have to say shows enough for us to know she will be around a while. "I Can't Be Bothered" could even be lifted off a Heather Myles album but that is just one of the styles she exhibits on the album. I like the variety. "Me and Charlie Talking" is an excellent song; thematically starting a little like "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" (except the boy leaves town) and then leaving us expecting a reunion sometime down the track but alas it doesn't happen. 12 songs in all and along with Jessi Alexander shows none of the diva-ish tendencies that basically destroyed the credibility of female vocalists in Nashville.
Bad Bob - Bad to the Bow $28
Leona Williams - San Quentin's First Lady $30 Just before marrying Haggard, the Strangers backed Leona on an unusual album recorded inside the famed Californian prison....has any other city had 2 such famed prisons as San Francisco (Alcatraz & San Quentin)? She does a few excellent covers of songs recorded by Haggard; the best being Tommy Collins' "Goodbye Comes Hard to Me". What a great song! Also included is a great Leona-Haggard co-write in "Prisons Aren't Only for Men". At last report she was supposedly going back on the road singing back up for Haggard, unusual in one respect as it seems Haggard and Leona didn't have a very happy post marital relationship.
Ian Tyson - "Songs from the Gravel Road" $32 Hard to believe Ian Tyson is now over 70 as he still has a kind of youthful exuberance about him. he even tries a couple of jazzy tracks for something a little different, though "Love Without End" is probably a bit much. As a bonus two songs left over from his excellent "Live at Longview" album are included. "Casey's Gone" is a classic Tyson song. 12 songs in all; perhaps the inclusion of the two live songs suggest his studio days may be numbered, but still a fine artist. I'd like to see a trio album with Jerry Jeff Walker and Tom Russell, the two artists he most resembles.
Kathleen Edwards - Back With Me $32 Second album from a Canadian artist heavily influenced by Lucinda Williams. A little more rockier than the first. "In State" is about a woman who has had enough of her criminal boyfriend and helps send him to gaol. You wonder whether she did it to punish or help him. Overall, a tad too over the top for my tastes.
James Burton & Ralph Mooney - "Corn Pickin' & Slick Slidin'" $28 First US cd issue of a classic country instrumental album featuring Elvis' guitar player with Waylon's steel guitar man. 12 Bakersfield style instrumentals.
Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now $32 Major label blues or a continuation of the wonderful sounds she has exhibited on her 3 solo albums; "Dixie Kitchen", "Drag Queens in Limousines" and "Filth & Fire". Thankfully the latter. She is gaining recognition for her folky story songs and any one with any musical savvy should appreciate this. She reprises "I Drink" (originally on "Drag Queens") but I suppose the punters out there (who wouldn't know what an independent label and hang onto a Bruce Elder review as if it had some kind of holy relevance) have to be exposed to it some way. I still think I prefer her latter two independent albums ($20 in our bargain cd section) but we can breathe easy; she isn't going to change.
Tiny Moore & Jethro Burns - Back to Back 2cds $40 As different sounding as you could get but nonetheless two great mandolin players. Tiny, a member of the Bob Wills band when it was arguably at its very peak (around Tiffany Transcription time), and later on in the band of Billy Jack Wills, plays 5 string electric mandolin which to all intents and purposes sounds like an electric guitar, whilst Jethro was an exceptional stylist playing the standard mandolin in all styles from bluegrass to jazz. All instrumental on Acoustic Disc label. Label owner, David Grisman, is featured on three of the songs. 13 songs plus alternate takes (total of 26 tracks)
Trace Adkins - "Songs About Me" $32 The 6th or so cd from the tall man with the great deep voice. As always the quality of the material is sometimes not up to the standard of the voice. I find those who really appreciate country music can work out when a song is contrived and some of those here have that quality. "Arlington" is the obligatory anti-war statement but a rather good one. Best is probably "I Learned How to Love From You" which is has a simple uncomplicated melody and is ideally suited to Trace's voice. A honky tonk throwaway, "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" is a likeable conclusion.
dvd "Return to Sin City: Gram Parsons Tribute" $38 How good is Keith Richards?? He should record a full on country album and do it now. He has a lived in look, which is hard to believe seeing he is a lifelong teatotaller and abhors drugs in all shapes & forms (just joking!), but if anyone is suited to country music it is he. His contributions have graced George Jones' "Bradley Barn Sessions", Willie's recent live album and now this gem where he contributes a duet vocal with Norah Jones on the best ever version of"Love Hurts" as well as a solo of the wonderfully pained "Hickory Wind". He also leads the ensemble into "Wild Horses" as well as pulling some wonderful faces. It looks like he may have slept with his head in his fishing tackle box; I can't otherwise explain the weird hair adornments he wears. Even watching it over and over negates none of Keith's brilliance and absolute stage presence. Other guests are certainly none too shabby and include Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale, Raul Malo and Dwight Yoakam. The great James Burton guests on guitar. Almost 2 hours worth. This is a region 1 dvd. Please remember you will need a multi region player to play it.
Shooter Jennings - "Put the O Back in Country" $32 Son of Waylon & Jessi Colter with his first album which shows the Outlaw style is not dead and following the albums by the Skeeters and Billy Don Burns it appears that movement is well and truly making a comeback. The title track, with an introduction from George Jones is loosely based on Neil Young's "Are You Ready for the Country". "4th of July" features a 3 guitar approach...a little southern rock number which includes a snippet of George Jones singing "He Stopped Loving Her Today"; certainly the years are starting to catch up. "Lonesome Blues" may be the album's most pure country track. "Solid Country Gold" is how it should be. "Busted in Baylor County" is a breakneck romp about how his entourage were intercepted by the law whilst engaged in that recreational habit that the likes of Willie Nelson are so famed for. It has a real "Copperhead Road" flavour about it. On the other hand "Sweet Savannah" is a gentle bluesy track. "Southern Comfort" lists Jessi Colter as a vocalist but you'd never know it. Hank Jnr contributes to an hilarious close to the album when he speaks of all the highly important reasons he wasn't able to appear on the album. Certainly energetic and I'd say a must for fans of Steve Earle, Charlie Robison, Chris Knight more so than mainstream country artists.
Hacienda Bros - Hacienda Brothers $32 Old fave Chris Gaffney has joined forces with Dave Gonzalez and both share the vocals with Chris taking the majority of the leads. "She's Gone", a Dallas Frazier song is a very impressive opening number with Gaffney on lead vocal and features some nice steel guitar as well as a terrific baritone guitar solo from Gonzalez. There are some very nice Bakersfield touches on this album, notably "South of Lonesome" which again features the excellent guitar of Gonzalez. "Lookin' for Loneliness" is a new song from Dan Penn and has a southern soul flavour, not generally something I'd go for. "Walkin' On my Dreams" is downright dreary but things return to where they should be with a jaunty little instrumental, "Railed". A little reminiscent of a Doug Sahm album (may he rest in peace) in that the album covers a number of styles, not all of which may necessarily appeal to everyone.
Heather Myles - Rum & Rodeo $28 Don't get too excited as it is not a new album but rather a collection of her best Hightone tracks, with just one solitary new track. Mind you if you haven't had any Heather Myles albums you have definitely missed out on one of the best female country artists of the last 20 years. The albums features 14 songs. It seems Hightone are well and truly on the skids. They have virtually no roster. Heather, Dave Alvin, Big Sandy, Dale Watson, Chris Gaffney and Dallas Wayne and their only recent release has been Tom Russell's "Hot Walker", which is likely to alienate more than it pleases.
Speedy West - "Travellin' from Georgia to West of Samoa" $32 Jasmine Records in the UK have been putting out some very good releases and this 23 tracker taken from excellent quality radio transcriptions has Jimmy Bryant on guitar on all bar "Steel Strike". There are songs that appeared on their classic Capitol recordings and some new songs all with their characteristic sound.
A Cowboys Life is Good Enough for Me - 100 songs of the Plains and Life in the West 4cd set Jasmine $60. There are a stack of rarities on this well compiled set. Compiler Paul Hazell was a regular her until he moved back to the UK in the mid 90s and has a good feel for the music. In addition there is a healthy 32 page booklet. Many of the songs are from 78s but the overall sound quality is excellent. Features the likes of Red River Dave, Yodelin' Slim Clark, The Beverly Hillbillies, Cliff Carlisle and even some rare Australian artists.
Ricky Calmbach - "A Step in the Right Direction" $32 Nice straight ahead honky tonk music, great production and presentation. "Counting on a Barstool" is one of many fine songs written by Calmbach. "Its Too Late to Lie" explores another of the great themes of honky tonk music. He does a perfect version of a song associated with Lefty Frizzell (and Jonathan Edwards) in "Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy". The title track could be off a George Strait album. Excellent album. Everything you needed to know about the album is there and more. I hadn't realised that "Dance Time in Texas" was a Peter Rowan song.
Curtis Potter - "Chicago Dancin' Girls" $32 The good news is that despite the demise of Step One Records there is a sign that someone will be picking up the label and some of the excellent material that remained in the vaults will see the light of day. These were from a previously unreleased session and feature the excellent production skills of Ray Pennington plus a fabulous group of musicians including the great Buddy Emmons on steel, Rob Hajacos on fiddle and Dave Kirby on guitar. This album is dedicated to Kirby who passed away last year after a long illness. Potter is a great vocalist equally at home with Ray Price style shuffles and western swing. "It's a Better Way to Love" is a duet with Ray Pennington, himself an excellent Ray Price style vocalist. There can never be enough Curtis Potter albums.
Darl Enga - Left for Dead $28
Rodney Crowell - But What Will the Neighbours Think/ Rodney Crowell 2 on 1 $32 Crowell's 2nd and 3rd album on 1 cd. Includes such classics as "'Til I Gain Control Again", "On a Real Good Night", and "You ain't Going Nowhere". 20 tracks in all. Both albums on cd for the first time.
Siebel, Paul - Woodsmoke & Oranges/ Jack-Knife Gypsy $30 Another artist who seems to cop a few strange pronunciations. Personally I have always favoured the pronunciation as in Siebel Town House, whereas others have gone for the See-Bell approach, which is fair enough; they can't help being wrong. This UK album has his two Elektra albums on the one cd and include his original version of the fabulous Louise.
Should have Been Hits $30 From the vaults of Little Darlin' label and the title says it all. Apart from Hoot Hester, Tommy Dee, Dugg Collins (we had an indie cd of recent times by him which was great) and Mark Brine there are 16 real unknowns (not that these 4 artists roll off everybody's tongue every day). Names include Eddie Reday, Lee Howell, Leb Brenson etc. 20 tracks in all.
Chris Wall - "No Sweat" $30 Reissue of the long deleted second Chris Wall album which was originally issued on the Ryko label. Still sounds great and includes Wall classics "Rodeo Cowboy" and "I'm Not Drinkin' AnyMore"....with its tag...but I'm not drinking any less. Aaah, Texas honky tonk music!!
Aaron Watson Live at the Texas Hall of Fame $30 Great value with 19 tracks, including the excellent "Honky tonk Kid". He throws in a few old songs to the mix, including Ernest Tubb's signature tune, "Thanks a Lot". A little bit of swing and honky tonk mixed with some wrenchingly good ballads. The best thing you can say about any live album is I wish I could have been there.
Loudon Wainwright III - Here Come the Choppers $32 Apparently this is Loudon's 21st album and I can still recall an early review wherein the reviewer said that if you had to describe Loudon it would be like his name ie Loud & on. Yet, he has remained a true folky for most of his career and this is no exception. Bill Frisell is excellent on guitar and offers a good contrast to Loudon's only guitar picking. "No Way Out' is a clever take on the September 11th which fully captures the evil nature of the whole thing. "My Biggest Fan" is more classic Wainwright. The title track is one where he imagines the attacks on the likes of Bosnia have been transferred to modern Los Angeles. Social commentator, humorist and raconteur. Almost nobody does it as well as he!
JSP BOX SETS ***Note all JSP now $70 (down from $80)
Proper Box "Stompin' Singers & Western Swingers" $55 Finally!
BEAR FAMILY UPDATENothing much till end of month but lots of good single discs.
**Tom Tall & Ginny Wright - Are You Mine $32
**Ray Campi - remembering Jesse James & All the Boys $32
**Carl Story - Lonesome Hearted Blues $32
**Roy Hall - Rocks $35 huge digipak + booklet Great!
**Carl Perkins - Rocks $35 same as with Roy
**Hammond Heroes: 60s R& B Heroes $32 (UK Pop)
**Carlisles -Busy Body Boogie$32
**Little Jimmy Dickens - I'm Little But I'm Loud $32
**David Allan Coe- Rough Rider/ DAC $32
**David Allan Coe - Castles in the Sand/ Hello In There $32
**David Allan Coe - Just Divorced/Darlin' Darlin" $32
more Coe 2 on1 s on the way.
**Complete D Singles Volume 6 4 cd + book $150-$180 tba
DVD s vol 1-6 The !!!!Beat UK R&B/Beat $45 each
Coming SoonMany will be here when you get this.
Johnny Cash - The Legend Price t.b.a. This is a way off yet, US release 7th June, but I thought it warranted a special mention. It will contain 104 tracks over 4 discs. What sets this apart is the number of demos and unissued songs which were part of a pile of tapes found in Cash's office at his studio complex in Hendersonville. One of the items is a duet with Billy Joe Shaver, on Billy Joe's song "You Can't beat Jesus Christ". There is also going to be a dvd included based around a television special from 1980. Obviously I will have more details a little further down the track. It will be produced as a standard and deluxe edition. The latter will have a 120 page hard cover coffee table book featuring over 1,000 rare and previously unpublished photos. The limited set will be limited to 20,000 copies. So please, if interested let me know and I will get the full information to you as soon as it becomes available.) Release same date will be a 2cd career retrospective on June Carter....Details t.ba.
June Carter Cash - Keep on the Sunny Side: Her Life in Music
George Jones - My Very Special Guests 2cds Details tba
Back when the Possum was having a few "troubles" a whole bunch of people got together with him and recorded this famed duets album. It included everyone from James Taylor to members of Dr Hook. That 10 tracker is now expanded by 27 duets recorded since that original album and includes such alumni as Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Van Shelton, Ricky Skaggs, Patty Loveless, Sweethearts of the Rodeo etc. Nothing previously unreleased but it gathers a lot of hard to find material that is no longer available in any form.
**Deke Dickerson - Guitar Geek Festival dvd $38. From Deke's publicity machine: DEKE'S GUITAR GEEK FESTIVAL was a huge success! Deke Dickerson presented some of the best guitar-oriented acts ever assembled in one unforgettable night, now available for everyone to enjoy! The legendary DOLL HUT club in Anaheim, California, was packed to the rafters for a night of guitars, guitars, and more guitars! You'll see some great rockabilly, country, surf, and twang on this DVD in a night of entertainment you'll never forget! If you're a "guitar geek," then this DVD is for you!
The Bargain Bin
All cds are $18 unless noted. Please note this is a small portion of the bargain bin. The entire list is available on our web site. See beginning of this newsletter for web site address. PLEASE!!!! If sending a cheque or money order without reserving the cds concerned, list alternates.
BLUEGRASSAldridge, Darin Call it a Day
Allen, Red Keep On Going (Rebel & Melodeon) $20
Allen, Red Lonesome & Blue (complete County) $20
Benson, Wayne An Instrumental Anthology (mandolin)
Blake, Norman & Nancy The Morning Glory Ramblers $20
Blue Highway Wondrous Love
Bonham, Glen Glen Bonham $20 (bluegrass but he sings like George Jones!! One
of the most popular cds we have ever had in our bargain bin.
Includes both Rob Ickes & Randy Kohrs on dobro.)
Brewster, Paul Everybody's Talkin'
Bush, Sam King of My World
Bush, Sam Glamour & Grits
Camp, Shawn Live at the Station Inn $22
Carrick, Jim Saturday's Luck
Carter, Jason On the Move
Chatham County Line Chatham County Line
Charles River Valley BoysBeatle Country ***all time classic
Clements, Vassar Vassar's Jazz
Clements, Vassar Living the Blues $20
Clements, Vassar Full Circle $20 (with guests)
Cordle, Larry Murder on Music Row
Cordle, Larry Bluegrass Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd
Darrow, Chris Chris Darrow/Under My Own Disguise 2 on 1
Flatt, Lester RCA Country Legends
Flatt, Lester Essential (with Nashville Grass)
Flatt & Scruggs Don't Get Above Your Raisin' $20
Flatt & Scruggs An Introduction $20 (28 Mercury tracks)
Flynn, Pat Request
Grapelli, Stephan Together at Last (with Vassar Clements) $20
Graves, Josh Sultan of Slide $20
Harrell, Michael Reno Closer Home
Hartford, John RCA Country Legends
Hartford, John Live Mountain Stage $20 )
Hot Rize So Long of a Journey $20
Howard, Randy I Rest My Case
Jim & jesse Songs from the Homeplace
Jim & Jesse Our Kind of country
Johnson Moutain Boys Live at the Birchmore
Jones, Chris A Few Words
King Wilkie Broke
Krauss, Alison Now That I found You: A Collection $20
Krauss, Alison Forget About It $20
Krauss, Alison Live 2cds $22
Krauss, Alison Lonely Runs Both Ways $20
Krauss, Alison New Favourite $20
Krauss, Alison So long So Wrong $20
Lauderdale/Stanley I Feel Like Singing Today $20
Lauderdale/Stanley Lost in the Lonesome Pines $20
Laurel Canyon Ramblers Rambler's Blues
Laurel Canyon Ramblers Blue Rambler 2
Laurel Canyon Ramblers Back on the street Again
Lynch, Claire Silver & Gold
McCoury, Ronnie Heartbreak Town
McCoury Brothers The McCoury Brothers
McReynolds, Jesse New Horizons )
Martin, Benny Big Tiger Roars Again Pt 1
Martin, Benny Big Tiger Roars Again Pt 2 (both with guests)
Martin, Jimmy Don't Cry to Me: Songs from King of Bluegrass
Martin, Jimmy King Of Bluegrass
Martin, Jimmy Songs of a Freeborn Man )
Monroe, James The Way I Am
Moore, Nancy Local Flowers (all songs by Tom T Hall) )
MutualAdmirationSocietyMAS (Chris Thile + Watkins from Nickel CreeK)
Nickel Creek This Time
Nugent, Alecia Alecia Nugent $20
Old & In the Way Old & In the Way $20
Parton, Dolly The Grass is Blue
Parton, Dolly Little sparrow
Parton, Dolly Haloes & Horns
Reno, Ronnie In concert (with the Reno Tradition)
Reno & Smiley The Talk of the Town $22 (Westside UK)
Reno & Smiley 16 Greatest Gospel
Rhody, Alan Journey
Rigsby, Don The Midnight Call
Rothman, Sandy Bluegrass Guitar Duets $20 (with Steve Pottier)
Rowan/Rice You Were There For Me $20
Scruggs, Earl Essential 2cds $28
Singletary, Daryle Now & Again
Singletary, Daryle That's Why I Sing This Way (great covers inc. "Kay")
Skaggs, Ricky Live at the Charleston Music Hall $20
Skaggs, Ricky Brand New Strings $22
Smith, Valerie Turtle Wings
Smith, Valerie Patchwork Heart
Smith, Valerie No Summer Storm
Stanley, Ralph I'll Answer the Call $20
Stanley, Ralph Very Best
Stanley, Ralph Great High Mountain $20
Stanley, Ralph Ralph Stanley (prod. T Bone Burnett)
Stanley, Ralph Clinch Mountain Sweethearts $22
Stanley, Ralph 50th Anniversary Collection $20
Stanley, Ralph Live at McCabes $22
Stanley, Ralph Cry from the Cross $20
Stanley Brothers 16 Greatest Gospel
Stanley II, Ralph Carrying On
Sweethearts of Rodeo Beautiful Lies
Tashian, Barry & Holly Harmony
Tashian, Barry & Holly Straw Into Gold
Tashian, Barry & Holly At Home
Thile, Chris Deceiver $20
Waller, Charlie Song of the American Spirit (last album)
Wright, Luther Rebuild the Wall
$18 cds (unless noted)
Adkins, Trace Greatest Hits Collection
Amazing Grace 3 (new gospel recordings w. Urban/Nichols/Jewell etc)