I have a boat load of old cassettes that I’ve been digging slowly through and getting on to my hard drive. So following along that country-influenced path, here’s one from Canadian country swingish outfit Prairie Oyster. What drew me to this song was singer Russell de Carle’s voice, especially the “I’ve forgotten somehowwwww” part. He’s got great command of his voice. It looks like Prairie Oyster is still active up in Canada.
I watched a great Austin City Limits last night: John Prine and Amos Lee. During Prine’s set, he introduced his last song as one “that just about knocked me off my chair” when he first heard it. It was a song called “Clay Pigeons” by Blaze Foley. The song about knocked me off my couch last night too; a heart-wrenching, beautifully written song. It’s on John’s latest CD, ‘Fair & Square’, which I own, but it had never hit me like that before. It’s in the Texas singer songwriter vein, the finger-pickin’ akin to Townes van Zandt (a friend and hero of Blaze).
So I went a searching to find out more about Blaze Foley. Well, like a lot of talents, he died young at the age of 39 years old in 1989. He was shot to death apparently while defending an elderly friend of his. He was a very eccentric, hard living character (he had a strange fixation with duct tape, so much so that his coffin was duct taped at his funeral). He spent most of the 70’s and 80’s playing gigs in Houston, New Orleans, and Austin. But he didn’t leave behind much of a body of work. A couple of albums were released after his death. One of them was ‘Live at the Austin Outhouse’, which was recorded on December 18th, 1988 (his 39th birthday), about three months before his death.
So I have to thank John Prine, not only for his music, but for mentioning Blaze Foley, one of the hidden stars of Texas music, another one who faded away much too fast.
Father’s Day was kind to me. My wife treated me to Sirius Satellite Radio. So needless to say, I’ve been pretty much immersed in the 120 + channels over the last few days. My favorites so far: Sirius Disorder, Jam On, Back Spin, and Pure Jazz. But I’m just getting going here.
So anyhow, tonight features another legend that was introduced to me through Steve Earle’s music. Steve’s song “Hometown Blues” starts off with his intro: “this here’s a hometown blues with apologies to Thomas Wolfe and Doc Watson.” So I eventually picked up ‘Tennessee Stud’, Doc Watson’s 2003 release. Granted, I have a long way to go in properly exploring Doc’s catalog, but this is a great introduction, in my humble opinion.
Doc was born back in 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina. Blind at an early age, he learned to finger pick at a school for the blind. His bio’s really interesting, I encourage you to check it out here.
Check out Doc’s version of an old jug band standard…
The last week has featured some Cajun sounds, a little 80’s Minneapolis funk, and some old school country. Now to marry it all up, it’s Buckwheat Zydeco’s collaboration with Dwight Yoakam. They got together in 1990 to lay down their take on Hank Williams’ “Hey Good Lookin'”, and I love the result. Dural’s accordion shares the spotlight, as he and Yoakam trade verses and put their mark on this classic tune.
Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural was born in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1947. His mentor was the late Clifton Chenier, the “King of Zydeco”. It’s obvious that I need to visit New Orleans as fast as humanly possible. I just might never come back.
Buckwheat Zydeco(w/ Dwight Yoakam): Hey Good Lookin’ (mp3)
From Jesse Johnson to Don Walser. What a transition! My point? Never limit yourself with music.
Another fine soundtrack is featured tonight. I bought the ‘Horse Whisperer’ soundtrack solely for the Steve Earle contribution “Me & the Eagle” (I still haven’t seen the movie). Lucky for me, the CD is full of great country tunes. All twelve of ’em. It offers great tracks from the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Lucinda Williams, the Mavericks, Iris Dement, and tonight’s performer, Don Walser.
Don’s a 68 yr old singer and guitarist from West Texas, a torch bearer of traditional Western Swing. The man can yodel with the best of ’em too (I’ll have to dig up a sample). He now resides in Austin. This tune puts a smile on my face and pep in my step every time. Makes you want to grab a gal and some whiskey, dance around a barn for a while, and top off the evening up in the hay loft.
Enjoy the fiddles, the piano, the great pedal steel guitar, and the joyous rhythm. Let’s enjoy these living legends while they’re still around.
All that fancy actin’ in Cold Mountain must’ve done something to Jack White, ’cause next thing you know, he’s holed up in a studio with country queen Loretta Lynn, producing her entire album, ‘Van Lear Rose’ [buy it here]. Yeah it’s been a while since this one’s been out. I’m sort of the anti-mp3-blogger. I’m really late to the party on a lot of stuff. I just heard the album for the first time last week, and let me tell ya, 70 year old Ms. Lynn is as vibrant and fresh as ever, and that has a lot to do with Jack White, in my opinion. The production is great; it’s 21st century Detroit meets Nashville hillbilly rock n’ roll. Great album. This is the one duet on the CD.
Here’s a fun, gritty, laid back ode to one of my favorite non-beer beverages (right behind the mojito): Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Sangria Wine.” My meticulous research has dated this song back to the early 70’s, when it first appeared on the 1973 album ‘Viva Terlingua.’ I’m gonna have to check out this album, as I read on All Music, it was
“recorded live in Luckenbach, TX, on a hot August night in 1973…among the most legendary of “live” singer/songwriter albums ever released. It’s the ‘Live at the Fillmore East’ of redneck Texas folk-rock.”