Ray Price- Sings Heart Songs

Woo hoo!! Friday.  Here is a subject I have completely exhausted on this blog.  That is because he is one of my favorites.  This was $4 and despite the cover being beat, was actually in decent shape.  I like the title.  Sounds like it was written by Thor.

This was Ray Price’s first album, released in 1957.  Pretty good little way to start one’s career.  I don’t think it made a whole lot of noise chart wise. but Price did have a slew of top singles including “Crazy Arms” under his belt when this was released.

A lot of good songs but of course, I am drawn to my favorites and Price’s version of “Faded Love” is no exception.  Therefore here it is as a sample.

Great album- Top Rated.

VA- Cotton Eyed Joe & Other Texas Dance Hall Favorites

This was $4.  I got it for good ol’ Cotton Eyed Joe, which is sort of a rite of passage in Texas.  I am reminded of the words of a friend of mine, Cullen, who told me if you are going to pay music in Texas, got to know “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Jole Blon”, which is also on this record.

This record was released in 1979 by producer/ engineer David Stalling’s Delta Records.  The label, based in Nacogdoches, I believe put out records by various country musicians as well as other genres.  This album was recorded at ACA Studios in Houston and features Ex-Texas Playboys Herb Remington on steel guitar and Bob White on fiddle.  Eddie Nation, from Houston, handles the lead guitar.  Apparently, he also played on some of Freddy Fender’s albums.

This record is what the title implies, a collection of Texas dance hall favorites.  No vocals on here. Instead, it is all instrumentals.  A lot of classics on here besides the two mentioned above, including ” Faded Love” Whiskey River”, “San Antonio Rose”, “Waltz Across Texas”, and “Maiden’s Prayer”.  Probably would have liked some vocals on this, but the songs are quite technically good country playing.  Decent album.

For a sample, as I always go with the same tunes, here is “Cotton Eyed Joe” along with “Faded Love”.

Good Record. Satisfactory.

Ray Price- I Fall To Pieces

Of course I am going to throw some country into this anniversary month.  And of course it is going to be Ray Price.  I have posted various albums of his on this site.  This was $4.00 .  Besides being a Price fan, the track list probably led me to get this album. On the personal front, I spent the weekend in Edmonton with a whole lot of family.  It was my pop’s 75th birthday party.  It was a pretty good time.  I saw a lot of family I hardly ever get to visit.  I had to give a brief speech for which I had procrastinated writing (much like this blog).  The plan was to write the speech on the West Jet flight up but I decided to watch Rogue One instead and was thus forced to write something during my layover in Calgary Airport (which I believe is one of the poorly designed airports in North America).    Well, I got it done and the speech was well received.  

This album came out in 1969 on Harmony Records, a subsidiary of the parent, Columbia Records.  Consisting of previously recorded material, this collection seems to cull together songs made famous by other singers such as the title track, “San Antonio Rose”, and “Cold Cold Heart”.  Good album.  What more could you ask?  It is that classic Ray Price sound. As a side note, I think I mentioned it last Ray Price post, I did but if not, I am still highly disappointed with Price’s portrayal in the Hank William’s Biopic I Saw The Light.  I mean he came off looking like a huge putz.

For a sample, I went with “I’m Tired” and “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes”

Satisfactory album.

Hank Thompson and the Brazos Valley Boys- The Best Of

As I am doing theme’s this month on the blog, this is the one I have been waiting for.  Welcome to Hank Week.  A week of Hanks.  We are starting the week off with my second favorite of the Big Three; Waco’s own Hank Thompson.  This was $4.00.

Obviously, this is a greatest hits compilation released by Capitol Records in 1963, a bit more than 10 years after he burst on the scene with “The Wild Side Of Life”.  Other great numbers on this album include “Humpty Dumpty Heart”, “Six Pack To Go”, “Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart”, “Hangover Tavern” and “Whoa Sailor”.

Despite the stars of this week being named Hank, a quick shout out should go to Thompson’s backup band, the Brazos Valley Boys. They were definite pioneers of Western Swing but whereas Bob Wills encouraged extended soloing, Thompson, well not so much.  Their musicianship supported Thompson’s vocals.

For a sample, I went with “Rub-A-Dub-Dub”, mainly because I used “Six Pack To Go” on my last Thompson post.  Curious?  Then go search for it on this blog’s handy search function.

Satisfactory record.

Ray Price- Another Bridge To Burn

This was 80 cents.  I like Ray Price a lot. I was disappointed with this year’s Hank Williams movie, I Saw The Light’s portrayal of Price as well as the whole movie itself.  I mean I know Price was a bit green when he moved in with Williams but I felt the actor portraying him had no similar features at all.

Whilst abroad in Amsterdam last month, I stopped at the Moco Museum to see the Banksy/Warhol exhibition on display.  The museum is aptly located in Museumplein, right behind the Rijksmuseum and beside the Van Gogh Museum.  It is a small gallery but it was a very good exhibit.

Street artist Banksy was the main showcase.  They had samples of some of his better known street works such as the rats, the monkeys, the girl with the balloon, and other pieces.  The main piece of art was the painting Beanfield shown above.  They also had the Swat Van in an enclosed space outside of the museum.

The Warhol stuff was less interesting but that is just my taste.  They had a Soup Can as well as the Reigning  Queen series of portraits with the center point being the one of Netherlands own Queen Beatrix.

This record came out in 1966.  It was Price’s 10th and it went to #1 on the Country Charts. It has that Ray Price sound back with steel guitars and fiddles where previous efforts as well as modern country at the time had string sections.  Lot of real good songs.  The title track, “Don’t Believe Her”. and “Go Away” were among my favorites.

For a sample, I went with “Don’t Believe Her”.  The chorus is what hooked me.

Satisfactory Record

 

La Movida- On The Move

This was a dollar.  I never heard of this band before.  I rolled the dice to try and see if  could find some decent Tejano music for the site.

One of the things that I did that I am proud of during my last vacation, was to go see some Irish Music.  I accomplished that feat Friday night at Mulligan’s right on Amstel in front of Rembrandtplein.  I seem to recall when I went in 2014, I saw something about this place and wanted to stop by to check it out.  In 2016, I passed by it during the day and made a point to see the band on Friday.  The bar itself is pretty cozy.  It has a rich and long history of supporting live Irish music both be it from Ireland, home grown, or from other countries.  The staff was feindly for the most part although one bartender gave me grief for having torn Euro’s.  I met four Irish girls there and chatted with them for a bit.  The band was pretty good as well.  Overall, it was a good time.

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Mulligan’s WebIpage

This album was released in 1983 on Hacienda Records, on South Staples Road, Corpus Christi, close to where I used to live  For the most part, it is pretty straight forward tejano music. Most of the songs are are Spanish.  There is a cover of Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind”.  Pretty decent for the most part,

The band is led by Ricky Smith on vocals and guitars.  Smith, born in Corpus Christi in 1955, formed his first band while in 7th grade, Ricky and the Dreamers,which lasted until 1970.  From there, he joined Los Banditos Mexicanos, for which he recorded and toured until 1973.  After some freelance work, he joined El Groupo Mayo in 1976.  After becoming the hottest band in Tejano, he left Mayo to form his own group in 1979, La Movida. And then he did some other stuff.  My time to work on the blog was kind of limited this week.  Anyway, Smith is known today as the King of Tejano Guitar.

For a sample, I wanted to use something that was a more traditional Tejano sound.  For this, I used “Te Necesito Amor”.  I also wanted to post “Body Dancin'” because it is kind of a disco number which does not sound like anything else on the record.

Satisfactory enough. I could have spent more time on today’s post but that just ain’t happening.

Willie Nelson- Country Willie

dscn6182And so begins another month of Donkey Show.  It seems like this year just started yesterday and now it is almost over.  Not doing the Christmas record thing this year.  If you are looking for some Christmas music, feel free to take advantage of this blogs Category selection of Christmas Music from the Menu.  Anyway, this record, with some water damage to the cover, was $1.  rs-115741-b2b86ab843ec2616844ca15dc6d42ac1239e0e9e

This record was a compilation album of Willie Nelson’s early efforts, released in 1975 at the start of Nelson’s defining Outlaw Country period.  It contains a few songs penned by Nelson such as the title track and “Night Life”, as well as some traditional country standards.

Pretty good album.  It comes from the period of country music that I like the best.  Sometimes it is hard to remember what Nelson was like pre-seventies.dscn6183

For a sample, I am using a song which is one of my favorite standards, “Columbus Stockade”.  I first became aware of this song from Judy Henske’s album.  Anyway, this version is a wonderful jazz/bop version which is a bit strange for Nelson during this period of his music.  Anyway, it is pretty good.  I also threw in “Country Willie” for those looking for something more traditionally country.8750891-0

Satisfactory record.

Trout Fishing In America- You Bore Me To Death

dscn5542This was $1.60.  Not going to pass up something with a hometown angle. I seem to recall seeing their name a lot in the 80’s when I used to read concert listings.img_7667-1024x768

Last week was a pretty busy one music wise.  It started with a production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love at the Houston Grand Opera.  It was a pretty good production, conducted by Jane Glover.  Set in a Mediterranean seaside resort, it was a simple, light and airy, story with good music.  Two acts- in and out.  The singers were in fine form.  Overall, it was quite good.img_7863-1024x768

Last Thursday, I saw Gogol Bordello at the White Oak Music Hall.  It was my fourth time to see the band but my first time at the venue.  As many people have stated, it is a very nice facility although the show was moved from the outside stage to the inside one.  img_7833-768x1024

img_7824-1024x768img_7838-768x1024Smaller crowd than I would have expected. Also, they were rather tame in comparison.  When I saw them at House of Blues, the dance floor was a graveyard of IPhones when the show was over.img_7842-768x1024 img_7854-576x1024

img_7869-768x1024The band was excellent.  They did most of my favorites and a lot of tunes from Underground World Strike.  They also did an excellent samba-esque version of “American Wedding”.  Great performance all the way around.

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Finally, Friday night, I returned to the HGO for a production of Gounod’s Faust.  This was also quite excellent.  Using traditional scenery, it was a good performance.  I really liked Act I and III.  Real dark stuff at times but it did have somewhat of a happy ending.  The music was excellent as this was my first time exposed to it.  The performances were also quite good.  I found it a bit odd that after the devil made a deal with Faust, he decided to pal along with him, like a buddy movie. Wouldn’t he have better things to do? That was strange. I did like the fact that the opera did jump right into it without some long exposition or epiphany on why Faust wanted his youth back.  They kept that part brief.  Overall, it was a great production.

 

troutfishinginamerica

Anyway, back to today’s subject at hand. Trout Fishing In America was formed by Keith Grimwood and Erza Idelt in 1979.  They took the name from the Richard Brautigan novel. They were based in Houston for many years until 1992 when they relocated to Arkansas.  Yes, that does sting.  Either way, they made  over 20 records for both kids and adults.  They also were nominated for Grammy’s four times.  They are still active today.

Link to TFIA Webpage

This was the duo’s first album.  It was released on their own label, Trout Records.  TFIA, according to their website, was one of the first bands to release their own music.dscn5543

The album is a collection of mostly covers, well except for one, they are all covers.  But what makes this album interesting is the wide range of artists covered from The Beatles to The Byrds, from Gordon Lightfoot to Ray Charles.  Pretty decent little album that captures the duo pretty well I imagine.156964f924944b13c4e5052068944eae

For a sample, I was torn between the Byrds’ “Mr Spaceman” and “Masochism Tango” which was written by Tom Lehrer.  Lehrer was one of those smart guy song writers who was also a mathematician in his spare time. He wrote topical songs and satires which may have been funny at the time but are kind of less so today.

Anyway, after some thought, I decided to go with Lehrer. Here is a rough session with several takes of the song.troutfishing1hr

Satisfactory Record. A lot of personal item on this post.  If you like that sort of thing, you are probably going to be short changed this month as I am planning to go on vacation shortly and will shorten up posts for the rest of the month.

Hank Thompson- At The Golden Nugget

dscn5526This was $2.00.  Of course, I am going to jump on this.  It is the kind of country that I adore. Also, as this is one of the Hanks, I have been meaning to post one of Thompson’s records for some time.  I have posted multiple Snow’s and a few Williams in the past.  mi0003443989

Hank Thompson was born in Waco, Texas in 1925.  He had a honky tonk vocal style similar to Ernest Tubb.  His backing band, the Brazos Valley Band, had a western swing style similar to Bob Wills, minus the solos.  When the two came together, it made a sound all its own; a combination of western swing and honky tonk.  Thompson burst on the scene with “Whoa Sailor” and had his first big hit in 1952 with “Wild Side Of Life”.

From there he continued to be a popular act, recording and performing throughout his career.  Popularity would fade in later decades, but Thompson would remain a popular concert draw.  His last public performance was in 2007.  In the same year, Thompson would die from lung cancer at age 82.hank-thompson_brazos-vally

This was a live recording released in 1961 from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.  If Allmusic.com is right, this is one of the first live country albums.  It is also among Thompson’s best.

tumblr_ndjrjtkk9a1s0vozto1_1280It is a great album, indeed.  The Brazos Valley Boys are on fire with such tracks as “Orange Blossom Special” and “Steel Guitar Rag”.  The guitar is further bolstered by Merle Travis, who sits in with the band for this album. There are also a lot of good vocal songs such as “Honky Tonk Girl”, “She’s Just A Whole Lot Like You”, “John Henry” and “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”. Pretty good overall record.dscn5527

For a sample, I decided to go with three songs.  I noticed I have been posting multiple songs pretty much all this week.  Is it laziness on my part?  Maybe.  Or maybe the songs are all just that good.  Well, which ever one you choose to believe, we are starting this album with Thompson singing one of Merle Travis’s hit tunes, “Nine Pound Hammer”.  We are also going with one made famous by Hank Williams, “Lost Highway” (note that this song may reappear this month).  Finally, I am submitting the closing number which is one of Thompson’s more popular numbers, “Six Pack To Go” complete with an outro.

hank-ttTop Rated album.

Asleep At The Wheel- Comin’ Right At Ya

dscn5390Even at the higher end of the spectrum ($4), this was a good deal.  1024x1024

Asleep At the Wheel are purveyors of that Texas Swing at a time when country was moving rapidly away from that sound.  Formed in West Virginia by Ray Benson and Lucky O Gosfield, the band has released over 25 albums including last years tribute to one of their biggest influences, Bob Wills”.  The band is also still touring, although they are playing The Woodlands rather than Houston this year (on New Years). They will also be playing at The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix on Dec 21.  The group is based out of Austin.  They relocated there in 1974 on the request of Willie Nelson.

The band’s webpage.

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Before that move, they released this, their first album in 1973.  They were living in Oakland at the time, on the request of Commander Cody.  This was their only album for United Artists and would lay down the sound which future releases would follow.  It is a great starting point for the band with original tunes as well as good covers, including Wills’ “Take Me Back To Tulsa” as well as Moon Mullican’s “Cherokee Boogie” and the oft covered “I’ve Been Everywhere”.  The band is joined by fiddle players Johnny Gimble, Buddy Spicher, and Andy Stein.  What makes this album more remarkable to me is to think where country music was going at the time.  To put out a record that unashamedly went back to its roots was pretty remarkable.

Allmusic review of the album because I am lazy today

For a sample, I went with one of my favorite Ernest Tubb songs (and probably the underlining reason I bought this album), “Driving Nails In My Coffin”.asleep-at-the-wheel-press-pic

Satisfactory record.