Sunday, March 31, 2024

More '80s Torch and Twang


A 2011 Guardian article discusses the release of the 1988 Johnny Cash tribute album, "Til Things are Brighter" by many British performers and the career difficulties faced by Cash at the time, including being dropped by his longtime label, Columbia.  The author notes Cash’s appreciation of the project and how it ultimately re-energized him.  While the article does fail to mention the popularity of The Highwaymen supergroup Cash was in (with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings) in the mid-1980s, it reminds me of how the career comeback for 50’s artists like The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, and Jimmy Scott only really became a thing in the 1980s.  (I’m excluding Elvis’ comeback special for several reasons, mainly because it was only 10-12 years after his heyday.) 

           Now, I’m not going to claim that Cash’s albums from the 80’s are masterpieces, but there’s a definite charm to the Brand New Dance cut on this compilation from his Johnny 99 album.  I’d also recommend K.D. Lang’s Shadowland, Uncle Walt’s Band’s An American in Texas, and, of course, George Jones’ I Am What I Am. 


Bruce Springsteen
I'm No Stranger To The Rain
Keith Whitley
I Feel The Blues Moving In
Del McCoury
End Of The Line
The Traveling Wilburys
Gun Sale at the Church
The Beat Farmers
On The Wings Of A Nightingale
The Everly Brothers
Cowboys from Hollywood
Camper Van Beethoven
Like Calling Up Thunder
The Gun Club
Now and Forever
Blue Rodeo
Turn It Around
Bob Neuwirth
As The Crow Flies
Uncle Walt's Band
West Texas Waltz
Joe Ely
Brand New Dance
Johnny Cash
Our Little Angel
Elvis Costello
Busy Being Blue
K. D. Lang
Have You Forgotten
The Del Fuegos
If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)
George Jones
Here Comes A Regular
The Replacements


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Your Roots are Showing: Immersed in '80s Torch and Twang


A couple of years ago, I happened to be watching both Halt and Catch Fire as well as Red Oaks, two shows set in the 1980s.  I generally liked the vast majority of musical choices, but the near complete lack of anything remotely twangy on either show got me thinking about how the rootsy music of the 80s, whether it be mainstream country fare or the various strains of alternative country (even though it wasn't called that then), seems very underappreciated today.  Maybe it's because I'm a Gen Xer, but it does seem like both 70s and 90s roots music maintains both more cache and more popular appreciation.   To remedy (well, as much as I possibly can) the situation, I decided to put together a six volume compilation - volumes 3-6 will follow over the next three months.  I did, however, make a decision not to include any of the artists that were on my '90s and '00s alternative country compilations.

           I should also note that there are probably at least 2-3 vinyl rips on each disc and the quality does vary a bit.  But it's still a lot better quality than listening to it on a cassette player in a car so don't complain to management unless it's really bad. :)  Lastly, I thought I should recommend a couple of the albums that I relied on to put together the compilations.   I highly recommend the Mekons' Honky Tonkin' and the Long Ryders' State of Our Union from the first disk and The Meat Puppets II Blasters  and Ted Hawkins' Happy Hour.

 Download Both Disks

Disc 1

Country Death Song

Violent Femmes

Five Feet High And Risin'

Tracey and Melissa Beehive

Heart Attack

Beat Rodeo

Pledge Of Love

The Del-Lords

Venice Skyline Rag

Pete & The Bigshots

Lights Of Downtown

The Long Ryders

Oh Darlin'

The O'Kanes

Every Angel In Heaven

Gene Clark & Carla Olson

The Way We Make A Broken Heart

Rosanne Cash

Heart to Heart

Skeeter Davis,NRBQ

Diamond Hill

Butch Hancock

Dark Glasses

Ben Vaughn

Crazy Country Hop

The Skeletons

Who's That Knocking At My Door?

The Dreadful Snakes

Crazy Over You

Foster And Lloyd


The Bodeans

Prince of Darkness


Shut It Tight

T-Bone Burnett

Disc 2

The Lubbock Tornado (I Don't Know)

Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band

Punk Rockin' Honky Tonk Girl

The Blue Chieftains

The Long Bow

Bill Monroe

Thirty Years Of Farming

Fred Eaglesmith

Let There Be Love

Dave Durham

They Never Will Know

Marshall Crenshaw

So Blue About You

True Believers

Track You Down (His Master's Voice)

Green On Red

Tennessee Plates

John Hiatt

Nothing Can Stop Me Loving You

Lone Justice


Meat Puppets

All Falls Away

The Silos

Ain't It Strange

Drivin N Cryin

Wild and Blue

John Anderson

Border Radio

The Blasters

Happy Hour

Ted Hawkins


Neil Young

The Catfish Song

Townes Van Zandt

Sunday, February 4, 2024

The Wonder of it All: A Stevie Wonder Collection

   If I was a fella prone to conspiracy theories, I would probably believe it if someone said that Stevie Wonder was much older than his official birth date.  Like, I know, he was first Little Stevie Wonder, but I will never wrap my mind around the fact that he completed the last of his string of mid-70's brilliant albums - Music of My Mind (1972); Talking Book (1972); Innervisions (1973); Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974); and Songs in the Key of Life (1976) - by the time he was 26.   Just bananas.  But rather than dwell on such things, I figure it's much better just to listen to the music so here's a Stevie retrospective.


The First Garden
I've Got You
I Want My Baby Back
If Your Love Cannot Be Moved
If You Really Love Me
Love Having You Around
Golden Lady
It Ain't No Use
Isn't She Lovely
Everybody's Talking
Ain't That Love
Jungle Fever
Be Cool Be Calm (And Keep Yourself Together)
I'm More Than Happy (I'm Satisfied)
Purple Rain Drops
Heaven Help Us All

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

On the Right Side of 2023

 Apologies for the delay in posting, but I had a few technical issues.  It was another great year for music, with Al Green's sublime cover of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" being a personal highlight.  I'd also especially recommend the John Cale, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Lana Del Rey albums. 

As always, I only included artists who weren't on the two previous years' compilations (unless they were singing backup on another artist's song).  Also, all of the previous year end compilations are also available (200920102011201220132014201520162017, 2018201920202021, 2022).

Hope everyone has a great 2024!!


Disc 1

Blood Calls Blood

Chief Adjuah


Black Pumas

Margot Kidder

Brian Lopez

Nube Negra (ft Y La Bamba)

Juan Wauters



River Of Love

Ryan Bingham

Hundred Miles

The Watson Twins


Amos Lee

Oh Me, Oh My feat. Michael Stipe

Lonnie Holley

Going to a Town (feat. Anohni)

Rufus Wainwright

Danza Da La Paloma Enamorada

Tim Hill

MOONSTRUCK (Nico's Song)

John Cale

Shoot Me Down

Young Fathers




Yo La Tengo

Song to the Siren

Rhoda Dakar

All My Exes Live in L.A.

Lola Kirke feat. First Aid Kit

Too Bad

Cut Worms

Disc 2

Death Is The Diamond

Julie Byrne

Cast Iron Skillet

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Smoky Mountain Girl

Jesco Payne & the Painkillers

Like a wounded bird trying to fly

Kurt Vile

Pontius Pilate’s Home Movies

The New Pornographers

Impregnated by Drops of Rainbow

Bobby Lee

Déjà Vu ft. RiTchie

Loraine James

Com 6 Anos

Ricardo Dias Gomes

Before the Sun

Gregory Alan Isakov

You’re My Thrill

Buddy & Julie Miller

Starvation Box

Dale Watson

Out In The Woods

Durand Jones & The Indications

Devil Doesn't Dance

The Budos Band

Red Horse

Corinne Bailey Rae

Lullaby for Ezra

Kirsty MacColl

Havana’s Midnight

Raul Malo

We'll Understand

Barbara Lynn

Beggar For Your Love

Margo Cilker

Disc 3

Part 1 - The Cosmic Bypass

Angel Bat Dawid

Let The Light In [feat. Father John Misty]

Lana Del Rey

Bad Guy

Godfather of Harlem

Last Night Was Good for My Soul

The Shindellas


Sonny & the Sunsets

Empty Yodel No. 1

Nick Shoulders

It's a Start

Brent Cobb

The Old Woman In Me

Lori McKenna

As I Wander, I Will Ponder

Daniel Bachman

for good

M. Ward

Perfect Day

Al Green

Ninety Three 'Til Infinity And Beyoncé

André 3000


Crisis Actor



The King of Everything

The Handsome Family

Workin' On A World

Iris DeMent

What Am I Gonna Do

Chris Stapleton

Sweet Sounds Of Heaven

The Rolling Stones & Lady Gaga