Saturday, October 20, 2007

403. Joe Ely - Honky Tonk Masquerade (1978)

Track Listing

1. Cornbread moon
2. Because of the wind
3. Boxcars
4. Jericho (your walls must come tumbling down)
5. Tonight I think I'm gonna go downtown
6. Honky tonk masquerade
7. I'll be your fool
8. Fingernails
9. West texas waltz
10. Honky tonkin'


I am sorry the picture is so small today, but the album has been reissued with another album and therefore the cover on the CD is the two album covers side by side. So getting this by itself was more of a problem than usual.

Administrative concerns aside, this is a kind of blahish album. Yes, it is quite good country music, and that is a find in itself, now it does innovate quite a bit, using a lot of things that would not be that common in Country, it has a definite pop/rock influence to it, but in the end it does not use its innovation for anything tremendously interesting.

The album is good however, and the song writing is witty and well paced, in the best tradition of country. The music is quite good with a special nod to Fingernails and Cornbread Moon for that, but it really doesn't impress tremendously. The album should have been freer, Joe Ely should have blown up the Country music establishment a lot more than he did... but this was hard enough on the Nashville assholes for him never to be as successful as he deserves.

Track Highlights

1. Fingernails
2. Cornbread Moon
3. West Texas Waltz
4. Boxcars

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Ely's second album has been highly regarded by critics around the world. It was included in the 2005 book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Writer Steve Pond places the album at number 40 on Rolling Stone's list of "50 Essential Albums of the 70s", calling it "the decade's most sure-footed country-rock collaboration". Pond places the album in the same class as such 1970s "country landmarks" as Guy Clark's Old No. 1, Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger, and Terry Allen's Lubbock (On Everything). In addition, New Zealand critic Fred Muller places the album on his list of the top ten "best albums of the rock era.

Fingernails... it doesn't make much sense if he isn't playing the piano... but hey:


Anonymous said...

I'm happy and surprised to see one of Joe's LPs on the list. He's one of those performers whose studio recordings were but a pale echo of the experience of seeing him play live. I'll never forget the first time I saw him with his great rockin' band here at the Paramount in Austin in 1980, and every subsequent time (Manor Downs, Austin Opry House, Club Foot, City Coliseum, and god knows where else) was as vital and raucous and exciting as the first. He and that band were just a smokin' musical force of nature in those days. Wish you coulda seen 'em.

Francisco Silva said...

I imagine that is the problem with most albums that I am not blown away by, but can actually recognise the quality. Many band and singers cannot reproduce their live chemistry on record.