Monday, December 1, 2008

The Flatlanders: Now Again

Faithful readers of this blog will know all about my admiration for the Flatlanders´ More A Legend Than A Band by now. A country rock classic that spawned the solo careers of main members Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, it was recorded back in ´72, but for various reasons never got a proper release until Rounder records finally did it justice in ´91.

In ´02, the Lubbock three finally decided to get together again, and that´s what we´re on about in this post, because the resulting Now Again is definitely an album that deserves the attention of twang lovers everywhere. It´s nowhere near as good as that famed debut of course, but hey, that was too tough an act to follow anyway. It´s mighty fine to hear three great singers (and pals too) working together once again though, and the songs - all but two written collectively - are definitely of high quality.

The upbeat Right Where I Belong is a good example. "If it´s dog eat dog and cat eat cat, I might never see the light until I eat my hat... I´m caught between day and night and pretty mama I don´t care..." Ely´s typical My Wildest Dreams Grow Wilder Every Day showcases his rockabilly side to good effect, while The South Wind Of Summer starts off as a ballad that reminds me a bit of Gram Parsons´ Hickory Wind, until it surprisingly picks up speed and ends with some pretty wild picking. Strange though that it fades out just as things are really starting to cook...

And that´s where we get to the downside of Now Again: the production department. It all seems just a little too tame in here somehow. Where the flame undeniably still burns, the Flatlanders never seem to catch enough wind to turn this album into the blazing prairie fire one would hope for. If they´d ever decide to record together again, I´d recommend James Luther Dickinson to oversee proceedings. Satisfaction guaranteed.

And that signed album cover pictured above? That´s all mine, baby...

The Flatlanders - Right Where I Belong MP3
The Flatlanders - My Wildest Dreams Grow Wilder Every Day MP3
The Flatlanders - South Wind Of Summer MP3

1 comment:

Michael Verity said...

I share your passion for the Flatlanders. I got to meet JDG twice: once in the backroom at Threadgill's in Austin ('95-ish) and once backstage at a show in Brooklyn (as a gift for my wife's birthday). What a wonderful human being. And I got to see Ely with Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark and John Hiatt in a songwriters show in Portland a few years back. Killer. But I don't have an autographed copy so I'm envious!

Your suggestion about James Dickinson overseeing a reunion record is spot-on.

Thanks, too, for dropping F45 and leaving a comment and for the link in your blogroll!

Music Junkie at Fusion 45