Triple Played: Veteran musicians record album
Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell have been friends since the early 1970s.
They co-wrote “Amarillo” for Harris’ classic “Elite Hotel,” which also contained the Crowell classic “Till I Gain Control Again.” Another Crowell tune, “Bluebird Wine,” was on Harris’ next album “Pieces of the Sky.”
By the time Harris’ 1977 classic “Luxury Liner” was released, Crowell had become a guitar player in Harris’ legendary Hot Band with Albert Lee playing acoustic and electric guitar. The remainder of the Hot Band was made up of pianist Glen D. Hardin, bassist Emory Gordy, drummer John Ware and pedal steel by Hank DeVito.
In 1978, Harris released the great “Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town” with the Hot Band, including a cover of Crowell’s great “Leavin’ Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.”
That same year, Crowell released his first solo record “Ain’t Living Long Like This,” backed by the Hot Band and others with Harris, Willie Nelson and the late Nicolette Larson appearing as vocalists.
I can still remember the first time I listened to that recording. Every song sounded so good. Songs that have been covered by the likes of Harris, Waylon Jennings, Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others.
Since the 1970s, both Harris and Crowell have had what has to be considered even modestly as stellar careers. They always talked about recording an album of duets together and this past Tuesday, Feb. 26, they released “Old Yellow Moon.”
The 12 songs feature four written by Crowell, including “Bluebird Wine,” and songs from Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson and Patty Scialfa. The original Hot Band sits in on some songs.
Having listened to this CD repeatedly for a week, I’ve found that it is everything you would come to expect from these two great musicians.
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It has been 10 years since we last heard from country-rock giants the Mavericks.
That is longer than The Beatles were a band!
Led by the immensely talented Raul Malo, the Mavericks on Tuesday, Feb. 26, released a seventh studio album since 1991 with “In Time.”
I recently watched a live solo show with Malo on Blue Highways Television, and the host asked him if his almost operatic voice was the result of his mother being a big fan of opera and her playing a lot of opera records when he was growing up.
To that he said, “I watch a lot of baseball, but I still can’t play for the Yankees.”
He also said that he took two guitar lessons to learn the scales but after that he was self-taught.
About his wonderful voice he said that he took one voice lesson and the vocal instructor told him his voice wasn’t very good. I wonder if that teacher was related to the executive from Decca Records who turned down The Beatles?
“In Time” contains 14 great songs and has all of the urgency of the Mavericks’ 1994 classic “What a Crying Shame.”
It is impossible to be or stay in a bad mood when listening to the Mavericks. Malo’s voice is as good as it has ever been.
The material is very strong, mixing up tempo love songs with ballads and a touch of country blues. All with the Mavericks’ trademark south-of-the-border sound.
The musicianship is stellar with Paul Deakin and Robert Reynolds providing the rhythmic backbeat that makes it all work.
“In Time” is one of the Mavericks very best and a must have for summer listening.
Look for releases from Boz Scaggs with “Memphis” on Tuesday, March 5, and Eric Clapton’s “Old Sock” and David Bowie’s “Next Day” on March 12.