Kristofferson Kris Kristofferson (Monument 1970)
One of those rare albums which never missteps (OK, "Blame it on the Stones" is a bit Second XI but it slides by with extra chutzpah points he gets for leading off a country album with it.) Ignore the know-nothing Pitch Fascists, Kris is a great, great singer in every way that counts and the overall effect is an album as every bit as smooth and atmospheric as any crooner.
Is there a better, more perfectly crafted song than "Sunday Morning Coming Down"? Is there a more rousing anthem for the troubadour set than "To Beat the Devil"? More touching and evocative relationship sketches than "Help Me Make it Through the Night" and "For the Good Times"?
Not that I've heard.
As one of the Great First Albums, as well as for superlative craft and flavour, it is an excellent companion piece to Guy Clark's Old #1.
Kris' next The Silver Tongued Devil and I got all the attention, but for mine "Kristofferson" trumps all comers.
(I'm talking about the LP version, it's been remastered on the excellent American Milestones series with bonus tracks. After it tanked on first release it was rereleased in 1971under the title Me and Bobby McGee.)