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LUCINDA WILLIAMS —THIS SWEET OLD WORLD (Highway / Thirty Tigers)

www.lucindawilliams.com 

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the original release of Sweet Old World singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams has released a re-recording of the album. Only this time she has added some new arrangements and re-record four cuts that failed to make the original 12 song set. Now featuring 16 songs, and entitled This Sweet Old World the record is a big one. One track “He Never Got Enough Love” has a new lyrics and title in “Drivin’ Down A Dead End Street”; the reason behind the new title is down to Bob Dylan having a song similar on his latest record, and well spotted by Williams who thought it best make a change.

 

One aspect that’s pretty much undeniable is the fact her work back then was more instantly attractive (than some of her later work), addictive even. Far less complicated, and easier accessed new listeners or converts who for some reason have yet to purchase Sweet Old World (co-produced by Williams, Gurf Morlix and Dusty Wakeman) they are in for a treat. The original album figured in between albums, Lucinda Williams and Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. This Sweet Old World is produced by Williams and her husband, Tom Overby who first suggested she should re-record the record, and it has Williams sound better than she has in some time. Of this there is no doubt. Her voice sounds more relaxed, and less husky, less whiskey hued sounding. Her diction is also far better and she sounds like she is having a good time. Going back to the original, a big favourite of mine Williams reveals it was beset with problems. Among which she had a mismatch of producers sent her way (and dispatched). One of whom didn’t even know of Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde; plus during the recording there were three or four label changes! This time the recording took all of 10 days. 

 

Extended lead guitar, some steel guitar and with her ever brooding, and sometimes more world weary than others lead vocals from Lake Charles, Louisiana-born Williams sees the listener taken through a series of emotions and cold chills as she speaks of a mother abandoning her family, loneliness, suicide, alcohol abuse and making mistakes. Support comes from members of her road band; Stuart Mathis (lead guitar), David Sutton (bass guitar), Butch Norton (drums) and her old friend, west-coast session ace and more, Greg Leisz (steel guitar).

 

This Sweet Old World is also sequenced differently, and with such highlights as opening track “Six Blocks Away” and potent pieces “Memphis Pearl” and “Pineola” the standard is set. Plus with an addictive rock’n’roll beat the torch is well and truly ignited on “Lines Around Your Eyes”, it in turn is supported by slumbering ballad “Which Will” before introducing the listener to four additions. 

First to appear is the aptly titled, raw blues steeped “Factory Blues” (we must not forget her first work on Smithsonian was blues folk!). It is followed by some fine work as Williams commands the listener’s attention on the spare (5-star) “Wild And Blue”, and with a stronger country feel (could be a nod to old country; Hank Williams, Hank Thompson etc) “Dark Side Of Life” as splashes of noteworthy acoustic guitar, and pedal steel escort the likewise superb Williams safely home.

 

                                                Maurice Hope     

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1
Rod Picott
70 pts.
Out Past The Wires
Welding Rod Music
GC,AN,LM,SZ,TK
2
JW Roy & The Royal Family
62 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,PJ,DH
3
Steph Cameron
61 pts.
Daybreak over Jackson Street
Pheromona
ML
4
JD McPherson
54 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
AR,RK,LK
5
Sarah Morris
53 pts.
Hearts In Need Of Repair
Independent
 
6
Turnpike Troubadours
52 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
MA,GF
7
Chris Hillman
51 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
 
8
Hayward Williams
39 pts.
Pretenders
Why River Records
KG,JB,JBO
9
Joe Henry
38 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
 
10
Jim White
37 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
JJ
12
Margo Price
35 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
 
11
Mark Martyre
35 pts.
Rivers
Independent
MF
13
Mavis Staples
32 pts.
If All I Was Was Black
Anti
HO
 
Peter Oren
32 pts.
Anthropocene
Western Vinyl
RB,HB
15
Fred Wickham
29 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
 
16
Jeffrey Martin
27 pts.
One Go Around
Fluff & Gravy Records
HDB
17
Blitzen Trapper
25 pts.
Wild and Reckless
Lojinx
JDO
 
Jeff Crosby
25 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records
FCE,FC,JS
19
Dori Freeman
24 pts.
Letters Never Read
Blue Hens Music
 
 
Hardpan
24 pts.
Hardpan
Blue Rose Records
WR
21
The Deep Dark Woods
21 pts.
Yarrow
Six Shooter
JF
22
Lilly Hiatt
20 pts.
Trinity Lane
New West
TJ
 
Tom Russell
20 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
JAB
24
Eilen Jewell
19 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
MW
25
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
FS

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