Sunday, May 5, 2024

'80's Torch and Twang - Disc 4 and 5

     I know my memory isn’t what it used to be, especially when it comes to events more than 35 years ago (and people’s memories are always selective).  Still, I am pretty confident that back in the ’80s, music aficionado types (i.e. college djs – especially White college djs) often described their musical tastes as some variation of “I like everything except country and metal”.  Sometimes, rap would also be lumped in there as well.    

            But, still, it seems like there was a lot more leeway for bands, including punk bands, back then to indulge their rootsy inclinations and release a couple of twangy songs on an album or even an entire record of roots music.  I’m sure there must have been some backlash from fans and I’m also guessing that fans were more likely to indulge, and enjoy, “countrified” music more when it didn’t have the trappings of mainstream country music.  Plus, there was no social media for people to complain – or hear complaints – about such things.  Still, the complaints I remember hearing seem to focus much more on bands selling out.

                Hope people like the 4th and 5th installments.  And since the Minutemen grace the artwork on Disc 5, it's worth noting that D. Boon listened pretty much exclusively to country music as a youngster.  If I recall correctly, Buck Owens was a particular favorite.


Disc 4

Angel From Montgomery

John Prine

Baby Out Of Jail

The Knitters

I'm Still Dreaming, Now I'm Yours

The Jayhawks

Wild Bill Jones

Alison Krauss & Union Station

Animal Husbandry


Like An Outlaw (For You)

Social Distortion


Fetchin Bones

Lottery Brazil

Souled American

Wearing the Robes of Bible Black

Giant Sand

Get Your Feet Out Of My Shoes

The Boothill Foot-Tappers

Sound of the Rain

Rank And File

Paradise Of Lies

The Stars Of Heaven

(Don't Go Back To) Rockville


Love At The Five & Dime

Nanci Griffith

Do You Believe Me Now

Vern Gosdin

Misguided Angel

Cowboy Junkies

One More Goodnight Kiss

Greg Brown

I Spent My Last $10.00 (On Birth Control and Beer)

Two Nice Girls

Disc 5

Wreck Of The Tammy Anne

Stompin' Tom Connors

So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)

Sweethearts Of The Rodeo

Mister Love

Re Winkler, Anne Harvey & Ree Van Vleck

Blind Love

Tom Waits

The Partner Nobody Chose

Guy Clark

Girls Night Out

The Judds

Time for Me to Fly

Dolly Parton

Big Lizard [Explicit]

The Dead Milkmen




Béla Fleck

I'm Only Human

Dave Edmunds

One Time One Night

Los Lobos

Straight A's In Love

Peter Shelley

Hayride to Hell

The Hoodoo Gurus

The Old Man Down The Road

John Fogerty

Love Is

Emmylou Harris

Want You By My Side

Darden Smith

The Road Goes On Forever

Robert Earl Keen, Jr.


Crab Devil said...

Thanks for these latest volumes.

To be sure, my memory isn't what it used to be, either. But
you're probably right to suggest that many of the music
afficionado types of the 1980s would have looked down on any
American roots music that somehow sounded a little too
mainstream for comfort.

On the other hand, during the mid- to late-1980s, some of
that snobbishness might have been more prevalent in certain
places than others. In Southern California, at least, there
was an admittedly short-lived cachet that attached to (among
many others) Blood on the Saddle, Lone Justice, the
Lonesome Strangers, and even the Lazy Cowgirls, all of whom
were more or less loosely associated with "cowpunk" or
"country punk." But that was also when the first couple of
"A Town South of Bakersfield" compilations came out.

So in some circles it actually became cool, even cutting-edge
to sound not just a tad bit twangy but downright, flat-out
countrified. Consider the example of the late, great Candye
Kane who was initially celebrated as a (budding) SoCal
country artist, and who didn't emerge as a bona fide blues
singer until later on.

And I DO remember that, for a stretch of many months there,
maybe even a couple of years, musicians around Los Angeles
(especially the guitar players, with their B-Benders and their
imitation pedal steel licks and all the rest of it) were going
absolutely nuts trying trying to show everybody how much
honky-tonky-er they were than the next guy!

heartsofstone said...

This is a superb series. Thanks so much.

Ishkabibliophile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ishkabibliophile said...


Quite welcome!


Ishkabibliophile said...


I didn't know that about Candye Kane, though she was on one of the Town South of Bakersfield compilations. And your point about cowpunk/"honky-tonkiness" is spot on - I never lived in Los Angeles, but I would say that the mid to late 80s, there was more embrace of country in music aficionado circles. I also forgot to include the Lazy Cowgirls - if I ever decide to a do a 7th volume, they'll be on it. :)


Crab Devil said...


Just on a whim, though in connection with this Torch and
Twang series of yours, I went to and looked up
some of the shows that took place at the Palomino (i.e.,
the storied club in North Hollywood) during the early- to
mid-1980s. It's kind of cool to peer back into that corner
of LA music history, so I thought I'd let you know, just
in case you might at some point want to head over for
a visit yourself.

If you were to begin somewhere around the page linked below,
you'd notice listings mainly for big-name country (and other)
artists, some of them iconic:

But then, continuing to page forward in time, you'd start
seeing more and more names of up-and-comers of the day,
such as Rank and File, Tin Star, Lonesome Strangers, and
then on to Lucinda Williams, Rosie Flores, and so on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your time on this. I'm simultaneously learning and remembering a lot.

Ishkabibliophile said...


It's pretty amazing how many great acts played there, especially since it seems like it was a pretty small club. Must have been a great place to hear live music. I also love that when Elvis Costello played there in 1979, he managed to play 3-4 country songs. When in Rome, I guess......

Thanks for the heads up,

Ishkabibliophile said...


I will confess that I had never heard probably about 20-30% of the acts on the compilation before I started putting it together.