Tuesday, November 11, 2008

by ericbkk

Larry Jon Wilson - S/T





















An associate of the country outlaw generation that included Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Larry Jon Wilson's burly baritone burr brought tableaux like "Ohoopee River Bottomland" and "Sheldon Church Yard" to vivid life, but his refusal to compromise curtailed his Seventies career after just a few albums.
He even harboured reluctance about this comeback album, which he insisted on doing "with no sticks and no plugs". Trimmed to little more than his voice and guitar, the results are as gripping as the late Johnny Cash recordings, full of languid ruminations on the past and bitter existential reflections like "Where From" ("A world you never asked for holds you hostage till you're 21", etc).
His candid attitude can be gleaned from the fact that, while Elvis does an "American Trilogy", Wilson here does a "Losers Trilogy" and a "Whore Trilogy", the latter incorporating poignant renditions of Paul Siebel's "Louise" and Mickey Newbury's "San Francisco Mabel Joy". There's also a version of the Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson "Heartland", its account of disillusion withering hope perfectly suited to Wilson's world-weary tones. : ~ Andy Gill

01. Shoulders
02. Losers Trilogy: If I Just Knew What to Say/Bless the Losers/Things Ain'
03. Heartland
04. Long About Now
05. Me with No You
06. Feel Alright Again
07. I Am No Dancer
08. Goodbye Eyes
09. Rocking with You
10. Throw My Hands Up
11. Whore Trilogy: Louise/Sunset Woman/Frisco Mabel Joy
12. Where From


A raw, unadorned set of songs make up the fifth album of Larry Jon Wilson, the enigmatic singer-songwriter from Augusta, GA.
If you’ve never heard of Larry Jon, it’s because, despite some golden opportunities, he always refused to sell out. But ask Kris Kristofferson or Willie Nelson who their favourite singers are the 68-year-old’s name is offered up.
In the early Seventies Wilson was thick with Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Tony Joe White - smart young southerners as enamoured with Bob Dylan as the Grand Ol Opry. Often labelled as country music’s ‘outlaw generation’, their music was spare, usually introspective and one detected a desire to dignify the south, to expunge the unsavoury elements associated with their elders. They drew from soul, blues and in Wilson’s case funk. Country-funk, or better funky-country would be a fair way to describe his two great Seventies albums: New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Songs To You.
But Wilson’s eponymous fifth is another matter. Townes Van Zandt’s white-knuckle album Live At The Old Quarter is a spiritual ally. He stood in a packed Texas club and poured his heart out, and Larry Jon has done the same in a Florida studio.
At times Wilson’s big tobacco voice comes near to breaking over songs like Goodbye Eyes, Shoulders and Losers’ Trilogy. Larry sounds so close, you can hear his fingers screech across the acoustic guitar strings as the songs unfold. Often he just reminisces, subtly alluding to enormous loss and rescuing himself with wry poetical grace. : ~ Robert Spellman

All 12 tracks are first takes and unplugged recorded in one week on the Florida coast.
If that gives the impression of a rush job, the very opposite is true of the finished album. Wilson has a relaxed baritone voice somewhere between the country soul of Kris Kristofferson and the blues of John Lee Hooker.
The songs are about getting old and making the right life choices.
On 'Heartland', he sings "My American dream fell apart at the seams" but there's no trace of bitterness here, just a worldly reflectiveness steeped in memories. The upshot of it all is that contentment comes from finding a good woman and being true to yourself.
There's no raging against the dying of the light as he reflects that an "old rocking chair don''t scare me like it used to" (Rocking With You) and on the superb closing track 'Where From' he muses on how life-friends-choices-loves all come and go with only age and the end being constants.
Like the late great Townes Van Zandt, who he lived and toured with many years ago, there's no mould to contain old troopers like Wilson. He's one of a dying breed but this fine collection should guarantee that when he's gone he won't be forgotten. : ~ Whisperin & Hollerin

Seeking LJW's 1979 album, Sojourner.

Acknowledgements to Willy99 at Wild Safari Blog for the files.

Cheers.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

loved this post from Willy Safari - but his tracks where low bitrate quality, how are yours at 320kbs if you got them from him? Are they just transcodes or is this a different rip?

don

11 November, 2008 23:53  
Blogger ericbkk said...

These are the files I got from Willy99's blog, posted as they came to me.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "low bitrate quality". It's a rough and ready recording; that's part of its attraction.
I had to look up transcodes on Wikipedia, and the little I read about it makes it very unlikely that I'll ever venture into it.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

12 November, 2008 00:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks ericbkk

the files willy posted where variable bitrate using v6, more or less eqiuvalent to constant bitrate 128kbs mp3s. When you converted them to 320kbs cbr files all you did was to retain the relatively low quality of the original files but made them much bigger. In fact, there will have been a loss of quality during the conversion from v6 to 320kbs.

My point here is just that there's no advantage to anyone in converting files to different bitrates, you spend more time uploading, we spend more time downloading and the files are lower quality. I'm just trying to pass on a bit of advice to help everyone out.

don

12 November, 2008 03:19  
Blogger ericbkk said...

don,
"When you converted them to 320kbs cbr files" should read "when they were converted" because I posted the files as I got them.
Getting music on the internet, you can never be sure you're getting what you're thinking you're getting, and we must look at the bright side, and be thankful for the variety of the music that's available for us although the quality may not always be what we would hope for.
I agree absolutely with what you say about converting files to a higher bit rate. Having been cursed (or should that be "blessed") with insensitive ears, and having a slow internet connection, I've always been satisfied with low bit rates such as 128 Kbps on the music I find.
If what you suspect about these files is true,let's hope a better rip of this excellent album surfaces one of these days.

Cheers.

12 November, 2008 09:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi eric

Oh dear, Willy's post does indeed link to 320kbs files. Either he upgraded his post, or else my grey cells have failed me and I got it from another blog. Either way I must hope you accept my apologies!

don

12 November, 2008 10:47  
Blogger ericbkk said...

"Either he upgraded his post.."

Quite possibly, because he first posted the album a few weeks before I came across the post.

Cheers.

12 November, 2008 18:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the introduction. i look forward to exploring wilson's music further.

30 November, 2008 07:45  

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