Tom T. Hall- New Train, Same Rider

We are continuing this week with records that a bought only to discover a different record inside. I know. Perhaps I should do a better job of checking these out before I buy.  Well when they are only a buck, I just roll the dice. It is not worth my time to insect every album.  Well, I got this for a dollar.  I am not an overly huge Conway Twitty fan but felt that it would be a good addition to the site and I could learn more about his catalog.

What I got when I got home was a record by country singer/songwriter, and novelist Tom T. Hall.  Hall wrote such country songs such as “Harper Valley PTA” and “Hello Vietnam”.  Hall, born in Olive Hill, Kentucky in 1936 has written 11 #1 songs as well as another 26 that made the Top Ten. Known as “The Storyteller”, Hall is still kicking it today.

 

This record, New Train Same Rider, was Hall’s 16th if I can count right.  Released in 1978 in RCA, it is actually a pretty good album.  I liked it.  Perhaps I liked it more than I would the Twitty album.  It features songs written by Hall such as “Come Back To Nashville”, “No One Feels My Hurt” and “Mabel, You Have Been A Friend To Me” as well as tunes written by others such as “Whiskey”, and “Dark Hollow”.  Pretty straight forward 70’s country.  In all, a pretty good album.

 

However, there was this one song that I felt was quite hokey. Released as a single that went #13 in the US and #5 in Canada, “May The Force Be With You” no doubt is a novelty gimmick designed to take advantage of the massive success of Star Wars.  This song is like a train wreck.  It is ugly but I can not dare to look away.  So here it is as a sample.  I would like to say that there are much better songs on this album, but this is the one that stuck.

 

Overall, despite this number, this is a really good album and as stated before, I believe I made out better with this than the original purchase. Satisfactory.

Carole King- Music

This little gem was $1 and thus too cheap to pass up.  As a kid growing up, my best friend’s mom used to play Tapestry religiously, like many folks from that era I assume.  So far, 2018 has been pleasant for the blog.  Nice crisp posts with no more than 10- 20 minutes of prep time.

Carole King is one of the great song writers of the last century. having worked on 118 pop hits in the US as well as 61 hits in the UK.  When she set out to record on her own, her second album, the earlier mentioned Tapestry was a massive success as well as her best seller. So I beg the question: as every career has an apex, how does one follow their highest achievement? (As a side note to this question, shortly after writing this post I watched The Man Who Wasn’t There, and much like The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, Burn After Reading, and the wonderful Hail, Caesar!, it had the ominous distinction of being a Coen Brother movie that followed right after a critical high point for the duo and in all probability did not get the treatment that they deserved. At least Lebowski eventually gained a cult following.)

Well, I think that is why I bought this album.  To answer that question. King released this, her third album, in 1971, which was the same year of Tapestry.   It sold very well, quickly going Gold then Platinum.  In fact, both albums stayed together in the Top Ten for a considerable amount of time. Musically, it is very similar in the laid back vein of its predecessor and it that respects it is quite good.  Is it as good as Tapestry? No, but I think that is an unfair benchmark and besides, the record sales really speak for itself.

For a sample, I went with the last track “Back To California” which I thought was a real driving number,  I did think the fade out was a tad pre-mature though. Also, one of my pet peeves is a track listing on the album cover that does not match the actual record.  Oh well, when you are the master song writer with tons of hits, I guess you can do things your way.

If you feel you are missing something with the brief posts, I invite you to Google the subject and fill in any blanks.  Other than that, Satisfactory.

Nilsson-Nilsson Schmilsson

DSCN4628 (798x800)This gem was only one dollar.  I got it at a record show.  It reminded me much of a friend of mine who worked at Leon’s Lounge and who would play this album.leons-lounge

Oh Leon’s Lounge.  It was one of my favorite bars.  My home away from home when ever I was away or in exile from the Maple Leaf Pub.  And what made those exile years (more like months) bearable?  It was Leon’s Lounge and my friend who used to bartend there.   Leon’s was and still is the oldest bar in Houston.  Some people argue that the oldest bar is Lacarafe,  but this is incorrect.  Lacarafe is the oldest building, starting life as a trading store/ bakery founded by John Kennedy who had a contracts to supply Confederate troops during the Civil War.  He is buried with the Catholic Confederate soldiers off of Navigation in a cemetery in a Hispanic part of town.   I was there two months ago.  Dick Dowling is buried there.  They named the street Tuam (or 2 a.m. as it is known in the vernacular) after the county in Ireland were he was from.  So don’t let anybody tell you it is Vietnamese.  I get in that argument with people all the time.leon_s_two_0_0

Getting back to the point, the ownership of the bar has changed hands a few times, most recently last year. It is back up and running and I guess it is probably just as good as it ever was but I no longer drink so I would not know.  I wish the place luck and I am sure it is doing fine.  It seems kind of hard to mess that place up given location and history.

Leon’s Yelp Page

 

harry-nilsson-blog

Harry Nilsson, on the other hand was a prolific singer/songwriter from the 60’s and 70’s.  Born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in 1941, he had much success writing songs for groups such as the Monkees as well as recording his own material.  His song “Everybody’s Talkin” was used in the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy and netted him a Grammy.

1973HollywoodVampires_01_Getty_070915_hero He was a hard drinking buddy of John Lennon and Keith Moon among others.  Oddly enough, his flat in London which he lent out to friends was the scene of death for both Mama Cass and Moon.  Nilsson himself would die in 1994 of heart failure.

Nilsson’s Webpage

Various

This was Nilsson’s seventh and most successful album, released in 1971.  “Without You”, “Coconut”, and “Jump In the Fire” proved to be big hits.  “Without You” went to number #1 on the charts.  The album went to #3. Overall, the album is a good showcase of both his songwriting and singing skills.DSCN4629 (790x800)

For a sample, I went with “Jump In The Fire”  which was my friend at Leon’s favorite song.  It was also used well by Martin Scorsese in Good Fellas.  keeping with the theme of jumping off tangents in the post, many people talk about Wes Anderson’s brilliant use of songs in his movies but Scorsese is very good in this vein as well, albeit of a different period. however.henrynilsson

Top rated album.

Simon and Garfunkel- Bridge Over Troubled Water

DSCN2183This was 80 cents.  I bought this last Memorial Day during Half Price Books 20% off sale.  Subsequently, I spent all day today at six Half Price locations for the Labor Day 20% sale.  All in all, I now have too many records and am very backlogged for the blog.  Very limited record shopping for the rest of the year now and quite frankly, that is my favorite part of doing the blog.GTY_Art_Garfunkel_paul_simon_ml_150526_16x9_992

I bought this record because a) at the time, I was really short on what I considered “Good” records and b) I had recently read an interview with Art Garfunkel which had been circulating the Internets.  In it, Artie comes off pretty bitter about the dissolution of the duo.  Obviously, after all these years there is still some resentment.  I would comment further but who am I to deny someone a grudge?

The Article in Question

A very funny Paul Simon skit from SNL 1986 that still picks on Artie

S&G Webpage

If you know noting about this album, released in 1970, it was their fifth and final album, it contained their two biggest signature tunes (the title track, and “The Boxer), and I believe it was their best seller as well as best critically acclaimed work.  It sold over 25 million copies and a Grammy for Album of the Year.

 

DSCN2184I went with “So Long Frank Lloyd Wright” which is a rather cheeky tribute to Artie and a foreshadowing of the impending breakup.  According to an interview in The Scotsman from 2000, Artie claimed that he did not get the symbolic meaning of the song until several years after its release, which I think is hilarious.  Way to be aware of things, buddy.simon_and_garfunkel

This is a classic album.  Have a good Saturday.  I will be at Half Price Books in Sugarland and Pearland today and will probably be listening to records for the rest of the year.

Shake Russell and Dana Cooper Band-ST

DSCN0887A friend bought this for me for 70 cents from a thrift store.  The artist is among one of her favorites.  She sold it for me for a dollar.  When I saw this at Cactus for $8.00, I felt vindicated.

The theme for this week has been brevity.  I am still behind since I went out of town this weekend.shake-portrait2

Shake Russell is a Texas singer-songwriter.  Raised in Independence, MO, Russell moved to Austin in the 70’s and later to Houston.  Between playing shows, releasing songs, getting local radio play, and winning awards, Russell has had his songs covered by artists such as Clint Black.  Russell has become a legend of the Texas / Houston music scene and still plays today.

Shake’s Bio and Web Page

In the late 70’s, Russell teamed up with childhood friend Dana Cooper and headquartered themselves out of Houston. The pair would gain success through local radio play. I believe this is their first album.  It is okay.  It is a bit too much on the easy listening side for my tastes but there are some real good moments including the opening track, “Gentle Way to Ride”

DSCN0888I also really like “Fade Away”  especially the line about Denim soldiers never dying.  I chose this as a sample.

Meh.  Again, a bit too easy for me.  Not to take away from Russell’s many accomplishments.