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and here’s some more: folk stax contd by

HAYES CARLL – TROUBLE IN MIND
newish (08) album from songwriter fella from TEXAS who wants you to know it
actively places himself within tradition of guy clark, townes can zandt, steve earle, et cetera
some have criticized his over-reliance on texas country cliches and his perhaps affected, intense texas drawl
his cute songs are maybe too cute and his angsty songs are absolutely too angsty but I think I prefer both of these to his middle of the road, low-key ballads
this is his polished label debut and the slick production give him a big boost as far as hooks go
“drunken poet’s dream” (as overblown as it sounds) was cowritten by ray wylie hubbard and is the best song on the album
also: “she left me for jesus”


SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB – S/T

greasy, smoky country gospel coming out of mid/late 90′s cowpunk alt bullshit, but clearly steeped in tradition
reverent, where any irony would have clouded their sometimes devotional bent
eery, riled-up yodely yelps can grate but definitely serve the spooky accordion/organ shuffle waltzes that fill the album
murder ballads
“I threw her in the river!”
surf/rockabilly licks and real simple dobro
I figure fans of that loud strummy acoustic guitar w/drum sound that’s so popular these days will dig this
and so do I


SPADE COOLEY & THE WESTERN SWING DANCE GANG – SHAME ON YOU

okay, spade cooley killed his wife in a very groteque way and there was a pretty famous subsequent celebrity trial
look it up if you want the juicy details (they include theme parks and gay sex cults)
as far as the music goes: spade dubbed himself the king of western swing at the height of that music’s popularity (although history has fortunately awarded mr. wills that title)
spade’s swing (as opposed to harder texas stuff like wills’) is a slick, schmaltzy hollywood swing
his swing band swelled into a near orchestra, with a full-time orchestral harp player swinging with the rest of them
the production might strike a lot of you folk as too syrupy, but I really love it for what it is
meticulously crafted dancey pop in the c&w mode
the title track (great fodder for cute news headlines, no doubt) is a good start and a standout


STEVE EARLE

80′s debut GUITAR TOWN rode the neo-traditionalist wave (think dwight yoakam, with whom he was often categorized at the time) into the charts
though he’s since been often grouped with fellow statemen guy clark, townes van zandt, et al. – that texas, earthy songWriter vibe
GT is all up in that big 80′s reverb with fwooshy hard rock deep snare hits w/heart-on-sleeve sentiments, rockabilly/Bakersfield clonky leads
whereas his most recent WASHINGTON SQUARE SERENADE finds earle, decades later, embracing self-consciously eclectic textured production and artsy, inventive arrangements, literate and socially conscious (ah, politics) lyrics
apparently a paean to his new adopted town of nyc + ode to its folk era greenwich village scene


CHARLIE FEATHERS – S/T

charlie is original sun gold
he shoulda coulda woulda been as big as elvis, big as cash, big as carl perkins at least
instead here (1990) on this wow exciting comeback album we find mr. Feathers vital and mean as ever, still raring to go
rockabilly before it needed that silly -billy distinction
charlie can growl in his resonant, bassy snarl one minute
and yelp or even squeeze out a convincing hoarse croon the next minute
this album is full of delicious, sloppy acoustic guitars and slap back delay effects
and clickety clack rimshots



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