Shirl Milete-s/t

August 6, 2008

Shirl Milete

s/t (1969 Poppy)

I cannot find much info about Shirl Milete and am curious about this guy’s career outside of the one album he released. He covers Townes Van Zandt on his self-titled debut, but that is all I could find on the internet. A friend sent me a vinyl rip of this last month and it has grown on me quite a bit.

I guess you could pigeonhole Shirl Milete as a part of the outlaw country movement, but there is a hint of flower power amidst the gruff tales of cocaine abuse, draft dodging and lives spent in poverty. Shirl’s voice sort of reminds me of a cross between Mickey Newbury and Johnny Cash and its kind of sad that he didn’t do anything after this impressive debut. I think I am drawn to the oddball psychedelic elements that seem so out of place on this good ol’ boy country album. He does a bizarro tune called “Love Child(Where will You Go” that has a soul chorus, piano vamping and orchestral crescendos as he bemoans the free love lifestyle of the hippies. However, he also pens a draft dodging ode called “I Wonder if Canada’s Cold” that attacks the Vietnam War and celebrates the strength involved in saying no to an unjust war. Whoever arranged the instrumentation on this album deserves an award since this is such a lush and subtly trippy album that isn’t quite country, pop or psych. It is all over the place and its eclecticism is what keeps drawing me back to this mysterious album. Feel free to fill in the banks if you know anything about Shirl Milete.