Dillard and Clark

The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark (1969, reissued in 2000 by Demon)

http://www.mediafire.com/?wlmxun90tdi

I love all posted here, but occasionally I must pull you aside and state the absolute brilliance of a particular album. The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark is one of those albums that reinforce the idealistic attitude twoards music and its ability to make the world so much more colorful by its very presence. To be honest, if you lack love for the Byrds, bluegrass, country and the richness of a well-told tale, then my hyperbole is a mere shout into a deaf ear. It may not be my favorite album in the entire world, but I’ve always felt it walked in lock step with my guardedly optimistic and relaxed personality. It’s a bruised, but hopeful collection of tunes that always nudge me in the right direction while reminded me that all is not sunshine in this dour world.

This Dillard slot in this duo is filled by Doug Dillard, one-half of the 60s most talented purveyors of bluegrass, while the Clark portion is taken up by Gene Clark, one of my favorite songwriters and engine behind the Byrds’ earliest classics. It is a perfect product of the late 60s when folk, country, bluegrass and rock all became a fountainhead for a bunch of long-hairs who crafted it into their own grubby visage. It may not reinvent a well-worn wheel, but it is a respectful nod to their heroes that could’ve only been recorded during this era. God knows that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were on the top of their game during this period, but these two leave the social commentary at the door and just focus on personal woes involving the meaning of life, love and the potential for happiness. It’s a humble, respectful album that breaks my heart only to slap a shit-eating grin on it during the next song. Although it may aim for simplicity, there is a grace and complexity to their songwriting that place it far beyond the others who drew from the same pond.

Jeffrey Cain

Whispering Thunder (Raccoon 1972)

http://www.mediafire.com/?ejytyiekxjm

Not much is known about Jeffrey Cain other than the fact that he released two albums, For You and Whispering Thunder, for Jesse Colin Young’s Warner Bros. imprint Raccoon records. the Raccoon label was responsible for some of the greatest sides of hippie soul and country folk released in the 70s. It boasted a roster of Jesse Colin Young, Michael Hurley and the Youngbloods. (Note: if anyone has any music by other Raccoon artists Banana and the Bunch, Joe Bauer, Kenny Gill or High Country, email me at magicistragic21@yahoo.com)

This is his second album and it should appeal to fans of Loudon Wainwright’s early work since both artists use country and folk as a canvas for their own bitter, biting observations. Bob Dylan and the Youngbloods are also strong influences although he is more enamoured of southern-fried rock and roll licks on many of the tracks. He is at his best on the opener “Soul Train” which is blue eyed soul by way of Nashville. Love this track and it stands as one of the best twangy tracks of the early 70s. “Pack Up Your Sorrows” is a heartbreakingly simple tune that offers a sentiment straight out of a Hallmark card. However, his request that a lover pack up her sorrows and share her burden with him just gets me all choked up. On a slightly negative note, I get the sense that his odes to moonshine and farming are somewhat tongue in cheek, but that is just my own paranoia. Like down home country by way of Woodstock? Whispering Thunder is right up your alley.

Lucinda Williams

Happy Woman Blues

removed by request of Smithsonian-Folkways

During my time in college, I knew a wonderful fellow named Chris Williams. Time has passed and senility has prematurely set, so my three prominent memories of the man are his endlessly cheerful demeanor, his shocking revelation that there was a sexual act called feltching and his the fact that he would always greet me with the chorus of Lucinda Williams’ “Hard Road”

Oh, Bill, I know how you’re feelin’
Your heart’s on fire and your head is reelin’
But with the spirit to guide you
And a friend beside you
You know you’ll win
If you’re only willin’

I must admit that each salutation raised my spirit even though I had never heard of this mystery woman, but fell in love with her country/folk tales of hard roads and tough love once I scrounged up a copy of this album. Admittedly, her later albums are better statements of purpose, especially Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, but Happy Woman Blues opened my punk and wussy pop eyes to the possibilities country. Many whiskeys and George Jones albums later, I feel like I need some eagle scout medals on this fashionable lapel. However, she was one of my first exposures to the genre even if it wasn’t necessarily the most pure entryway.

Happy Woman Blues was released in 1980 on Smithsonian Folkways and it captures Williams at her most simple and homespun. Somehow, I like her better this way instead of the overproduced and overthought efforts of recent efforts. Her voice lacks the pathos of a Dolly Parton or Tammy Wynette, but her lyrics and lazy drawl deliver the emotional breakdowns we secretly desire. Tales of one stands and drunken cries at unresponsive moons populate her songs and her quirky approach to country place her firmly inside the country canon while her legs drunkenly dangle off the sides of the wagon.

David Allan Coe

Longhaired Redneck/Rides Again (1976 & 1977, reissued by Bear Family in 1993)

http://www.divshare.com/download/4727672-671

Lordy, Lordy, David Allan Coe conflicts my PC soul. He has included racial epithets in his country tunes and there are some youtube interviews that reveal the ugly side of the man’s soul. However, it is very hard to deny the brilliance of his unflinching take on outlaw country. He is a thoroughly honest songwriter that documents an element of American culture and does it in a heartbreaking and tragic manner.

It isn’t too hard to see what made him such a squirrely individual. He was in and out of reform school, correctional centers and prison on and off from age 9. He claims to have spent time on death row for murdering a fellow who requested oral sex and when questioned about the authenticity of his penal claims, he responded by writing a musical tirade entitled “I’d Like to Kick the Shit Out of You.” Before outlaw country was just a twinkle in a marketer’s eye, Coe already sported multiple tattoo and long hair and rose around on his Harley. This made him a perfect foil to Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and others lumped into that rowdy wagon.

He already had many albums under his belt as well as a hit song penned for Tanya Tucker by the time these albums were released in 1976-77. By this point, he seemed frustrated by the outlaw country tag, but embraced every element of it as well. The title track of Longhaired Redneck sees Coe rebelling against his pigeonholing by critics and DJs while embracing “true outlaws” as he sings:

Country DJs knows that I’m an outlaw.
They’d never come to see me in this dive.
Where bikers stare at cowboys who are laughin’ at the hippies.
Who are prayin’ they’ll get out of here alive.

The loud mouth in the corners getting’ to me.
Talking about my earrings and my hair.
I guess he ain’t read the sign that says I’ve been to prison.
Someone ought to warn him, ‘fore I knock him off his chair.

‘Cause my long hair just can’t cover up my redneck.
I’ve won every fight I’ve ever fought.
And I don’t need some turkey telling me that I ain’t country.
Sayin’ I ain’t worth a damn dog, ticket that he bought.

‘Cause I can sing all them songs about Texas,
And I still do all the sad ones that I know.
They tell me I look like Merle Haggard,
And sound a lot like David Allan Coe.

Overall, he was the epitome of the genre, but George Jones’ troubled songs of addiction, anger and wasted opportunities are a better parallel than the more sensitive, radio-friendly voices of his contemporaries. By no means, were they purveyors of pop, but Coe and Jones are kind of repellent characters who aren’t just telling a tall tale. They lived what they wrote and pursued paths which were sometimes a source of personal ruin. Plus, I always enjoy his incessant jabs at hippies. They really bother the man. His salute to the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers on “Willie, Waylon and Me’ also lifts my weary soul.

Jesse Colin Young

Live at Sausalito Record Plant 7/25/1975

http://www.mediafire.com/?jqzekwnkxdp

I first encountered this lovely slice of stoned country-folk on a warm June evening where a friend roasted some fish and we imbibed to our heart’s content. It was a lively night where we all bid farewell to a close friend and we listened to mellow sounds and shot the shit. Discussion shifted to the Youngbloods and the genius of the first few Jesse Colin Young records. He replied that he had to play this bootleg of his mid 70s work that included a ten minute opus about the joys of living on a ridgetop. It was creatively entitled “Ridgetop.”

“Ridgetop” deserved in own genre or a place in the pantheon of rock epics as it begins with a sultry slice of saxophone while another tickles the keys like there is some serious foreplay happening before everyone gets down to some boogie rock business. It reminds me of Tony Joe White making sweet love Michael McDonald. It is so smooth, yet fried as he shares his desire to escape humanity and live near a squirrel sanctuary and embrace the simple life. It is so overblown for such a humble sentiment. The rest of the bootleg is just as good. If your old lady or man loves some twang, pop this one on and make pretend it is Barry White.

Michael Hurley

7/18/1976

http://www.mediafire.com/?jjnn0mtxgi1


I told you all about him this evening, but here is a bootleg of his show the next night. I also meant to include an embarrassing story about myself that is directly liked to Mr. Hurley’s wiles and charms. I knew that I needed to remain clean as a whistle before a physical to confirm my employment. I don’t smoke the magical fruit much at all, but I occasionally partake in a few nibbles. I remained loyal and faithful for months and had arranged an appointment at the doctor’s office where my mother worked as a secretary.

However, friends alerted me to the fact that Michael Hurley was playing in town. I insisted on resisting the urge beforehand and declined all requests for illicit activity. Hurley was absolutely amazing that star-crossed evening as he belted out “Tea Song” among other all-tinme favorites. It was one of the few times where an artists literally could have asked me to serve as an indentured servant and I sould have wholeheartedly followed along with the farce.

The ugly part came when I was a few malts to the wind and a friend somehow talked me into peeing into a tupperware container and smoking while my personal items lay on my sink. A good time was had by all. The next morning was a different story as I realized that I must hide a tupperware container of cold urine in my pants, pour it into a vial and hope no one notices its lukewarm qualities. Thankfully, it all went swimmingly and I am still gainfully employed until the very day.

Michael Hurley

June 8, 2008

Michael Hurley

7/17/1976

http://www.mediafire.com/?aw91dmmx2jz

I discovered the genius of this man in the most unlikely of places–a Spin Magazine Guide to Alternative Music. I was bored as hell in Western Pa one humid afternoon and rallied my friends to visit the newfangled borders that had just opened near Greensburg. I didn’t plan on purchasing the Holy Modal Rounders’ Have Moicy described in the book, but once I saw the cover packed with insolent wolves, thrown beer bottles and a lonely leopard sipping a beer in a disheveled corner, I knew I had to heed the recommendations of the godawful rag.

Have Moicy isn’t a Michael Hurley album, but he painted the artwork of rowdy animals and sang many opf my favorite tracks on what quickly became one of my favorite records of all time. I’ll post this one later, but this is a bootleg of Michael Hurley during the Have Moicy! days.

How do I describe one of America’s unsung creative gems? Although he recorded for Smithsonian Folkways before the eve of psychedelia and the hippie way of life, Hurley was down with the cause before it even had a name. Songs about werewolves, marijuana, fellatio and disappearing hamburgers populate his fantastic world of characters and far-flung locales. In addition, he possesses one of the most individual voices in the past 30 years. There is something about Snock that makes you appreciate the bittersweet occurrences and oddball excursions we all become a part of during our fleeting time on this planet.