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JOE ELY —LORD OF THE HIGHWAY / DIG ALL NIGHT (Floating World) 2 CDs

http://www.floatingworldrecords.co.uk

 

Texan Joe Ely if he were a boxer he would have been a bare-knuckle pugilist. For his music is uncomplicated and raw. He doesn’t spar much as he prefers to go for a clear-cut winner. Here, on this twin set of work from 1987, 1988 (High Tone) respectively Ely is found blazing a trail rocking country style with his band of David Grissom (electric, acoustic guitar, harmony vocals) Davis McLarty (drums, percussion), Jimmy Pettit (bass, harmony vocals) with Bobby Keys (sax) and Mitch Watkins (keyboards, harmony vocals) added to the band for the first record. As for the second it is down to four with Ely on harmonica and percussion (no guitar this time) with Michael Ramos (keyboards), James Fenner (percussion) plus fellow singer-songwriter Rosie Flores and her band, The Neptunes on harmony vocals.

 

Recorded in Austin, Texas Ely’s work is wall to wall throughout. Road music if you will. The kind played in sweaty, blue-collar bars in his home state and not a million miles away from what he is doing now. Only here he has keyboards help give his music additional drive as he swings through, like a man wielding a scythe through long grass the likes of ‘Settle For Love’, ‘Dig All Night’ plus arguably the two best tracks on the album ‘Jazz Street’ and ‘Behind the Bamboo Shade’ (two really fine story ballads —the latter is a borderland’s tale). Oh, I almost forget but you just have to listen to Ely’s (Mitch Watkins with whom he wrote all cuts) ‘Maybe She’ll Find Me; set before simmering, restless as waves on the ocean electric guitar (the great Grissom) it possesses much poetic beauty amidst the passion and brooding music offered. It doesn’t get much better.  

 

As for Lord Of The Highway it swings into action, good and early as the title-cut hits the boards running followed by the contemporary ‘(Don’t Put A) Lock On My Heart’; as his passion for music other than that coming out of Texas but England comes to the fore. Don’t forget he did become friends with the Clash and toured with them. Moving into the record it offers up one of his best ever-songs ‘Me And Billy The Kid’ plus you have fine offerings ‘My Baby Thinks She French’ (aided by keyboards, electric guitar etc), reflective gem ‘Silver City’, fun song and an upbeat ‘Are You Listenin’ Lucky?

Plus there is, loaded with dramatic build up and music as good as any on the set a rather special song. This is when Ely becomes lost in the wonderful lyrics of his friend and fellow Flatlander, Butch Hancock’s ‘Row Of Dominoes’. Captivating. Nothing less than!  This of course isn’t the one and only time he has managed this with material penned by the incredible Hancock —he has a folder full for you to check out. Go, now! You had best get started for you are burning daylight.

 

                                                Maurice Hope 

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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