Thursday, August 26, 2004

What I Have Been Listening To: The Shortish Version

Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn

People are comparing the Loretta-Jack White collaboration to the pairing of Rick Rubin with Johnny Cash and it is justified in a few important ways, the most obvious being both are successful cases of legends tossed aside by the mainstream finding their natural home with music lovers from outside the myopic country machine.

Portland, Oregon, High on a Mountain Top, Van Lear Rose, Miss Being Mrs and Story of My Life shine. I'll probably be skipping over God Makes No Mistakes on future listenings.

By the way, I can't believe no one has written a song called "Miss Being Mrs" before. A perfect country title or what?

Rising Outlaw, Hank Williams III

According to a interview I saw (on Yahoo! Launchcast I think) Williams was a jobbing hardcore punk artiste until a former acquaintance tapped him on the shoulder, said "Hey, this is your kid and you owe eight years of back child payments." He needed money quick. Since Hank Williams III singing hillbilly music was a more marketable proposition than Shelton Williams singing punk, the switch was made. A spitting image of grandad in looks and attitude (lingering scuttlebut about Hank Jr's paternity instantly dashed) this is simply honky tonk country at its roughest, readiest best and an outstanding debut. Particular favourites: If the Shoe Fits, two Wayne Hancock songs 87 Southbound and Thunderstorms and Neon Signs and the spooky live tracks which close out the disc (Why Don't You Leave Me Alone, Blue Devil.)

Ride This Train
Ballads of the True West Johnny Cash

Working my way through the Columbia reissues. The last two I heard alot when growing up, relistening to the last two convinces me I was right when questioning the received version of the history of concept albums.

Highlights on initial listenings: Swing Low Sweet Chariot and the thrusting southern gospel of It Was Jesus (Hymns); Going to Memphis, Loading Coal (Ride This Train) and pretty much all of "Ballads of the True West". Alot of classics there, Hardin Wouldn't Run, Mr Garfield, Johnny Reb, 25 Minutes to Go, Sam Hall (rerecorded for American Recordings IV), The Streets of Laredo all woven together by Johnny's fact-filled travelogue.

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