Wednesday, April 29, 2009

last call!

okaay this is as far as I got
hope you folks dug this on some level and it wasn't entirely masturbatory (not that kwur has any problem with that kind of stuff, I know I know...)

for the whole thing, click here

TOM RUSSELL – THE LONG WAY AROUND
singersongwriter writes california country music
with a penchant for overwrought, literate, plain overwritten story-songs
(and of course I find this endearing, though you might not)
that's what country music is all about!
Lots of juicy details, place names
some of his albums (all concept-albums, naturally) can be difficult to slog through and digest
for instance, his bukowski references, song suites, poorly pronounced spanish (there's a song here about uh pancho villa and zapata uh I think maybe)
this sampler is great, though
almost all of these are duets, which disguises his limited vocal range
talent abounds: nanci griffith, iris dement, jimmie dale gilmore (and those second two are two of my favorite singers ever)
“mineral wells” is fucking brilliant – about a washed-up, homeless former celeb actress and an obese film critic who drive out to the texas desert in search of immortality
many other songs come close
at least look at the picture of him with andy warhol and george jones in the liner notes wtf



THE SKILLET LICKERS – OLD TIME FIDDLE TUNES AND SONGS FROM NORTH GEORGIA
the lickers played fiddle tunes when honestly most tunes were fiddle tunes
before “country music”
granted, their name was supposed to sound as exaggerated and redneck as it does (tapping into that hillbilly market, naturally), but these folks were the real deal as far as musicianship goes
when folks want to hear music that vibes on that “old-timey” stuff, up to their neck in npr-ready “o brother” knockoffs (remember that?), this is what they should seek out
these are catchy and funny – I would recommend the skillet lickers any day over, say, fiddlin' john carson (the true first hillbilly hitmaker), whose recordings were perhaps more authentic, but also way longer and mostly very boring
“sal's gone to the cider mill”
“hell broke loose in georgia”



HANK THOMPSON – SEVEN DECADES

by the time the year 2000 rolled around and hank thompson recorded this record, he definitely couldn't croon as hot as he had in the 1960s height of his popularity, but oh boy he wouldn't let that get to him
as he says himself—
“if there's honey in that hive
there's a sting in this old bee
I may not buzz as often
or as loud as I used to do
but I'd love a taste of that nectar
from a pretty little flower like you”
yeah exactly
like any hank thompson album, this record's a nice mix of lightweight honkytonk and western swing, filled out with novelty songs (which become increasingly difficult to distinguish from the serious cuts)
he flirts with tejano on “condo in hondo” for instance
it's always nice when aging stars don't stoop to playing up their age in order to boost serious dynamic/gravitas (i.e. the rick rubin cash treatment)
hank's voice was mostly intact, so why not use it for what it does best?



HANK WILLIAMS – ALONE WITH HIS GUITAR
of course ol' hank's the most famous country singer of them all
every Nash wannabe with a rhinestone-speckled guitar strap just hasta give him props or else...
first (not quite, okay. see: jimmie rodgers) legit POP honky-tonk/hillbilly hero/martyr (died in '53 slumped over in his cadillac et cetera)
vocal stylings perfect marriage of Tubb's throaty sneer and Acuff polite yelp (this amalgam is something he cultivated, admittedly)
a wowee zowee genuine singer-songwriter – no-frills, heartfelt stories
lots of heartbreak and doom, but he is unafraid of cheese and f-u-n (read lots of romance comics, from whence he derived many lyrics- true story!)
this collection is maybe a good intro for those of ya afraid of Country with a capital C – these are rawer and folkier than the famous full band cuts (sound quality varies, obv)
listen to this album, anyone & everyone!
(kaw-liga is the saddest song I've ever heard about people who are made out of wood and not actually people)




LUCINDA WILLIAMS – CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD
once upon a time she was the next great hope for country music, songwriters, “honest music”
(alas, for those who've caught her recent rawk albums, esp. brand new “honey bee,” this has not proven to still be the case)
this is evidence of that early winning charm and talent
attention to detail!
her phlegmy snarl sounds so good
she works in rockabilly fake yodels, voice cracks (in track 5, for instance) and gets away with it where lesser talents have not
this album (to me) is all about the power of location-specific songwriting
with regards to that, dig track 6: “lake charles,” which maybe makes me want to cry a little bit every time I hear it (also, “jackson”)



at the end of the list there's a postscript from when I ran out of time/gave up--
it says: DON'T FORGET - HANDSOME FAMILY
KOERNER, RAY AND GLOVER
WAYNE HANCOCK
GEORGE JONES
ELIZABETH COTTON
IRIS DEMENT

so here goes, sans commentary (phew)...




THIS IS THE BEST SONG EVER





ok seeya later

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