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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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November 2017

1
JW Roy & The Royal Family
80 pts.
A Room Full Of Strangers
Royal Family Records
EM,BH,RST,LK
2
Chris Hillman
79 pts.
Bidin' My Time
Rounder
BP,FS,HD
3
Turnpike Troubadours
46 pts.
Long Away From Your Heart
Bossier City Records
HM,TK
4
Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton
36 pts.
Wildflower Blues
Cinquefoil Records
TJ
5
Eilen Jewell
34 pts.
Down Hearted Blues
Signature Sounds
 
6
Lucinda Williams
31 pts.
This Sweet Old World
Highway 20/Thirty Tigers
BR,MW
7
JD McPherson
29 pts.
Undivided Heart & Soul
New West
JS
8
Mark Martyre
26 pts.
Rivers
Independent
FC
 
Tom Russell
26 pts.
Folk Hotel
Frontera Records-Proper Records
SP
10
Anna Tivel
25 pts.
Small Believer
Fluff And Gravy Records
MG
 
Margo Price
25 pts.
All American Made
Third Man Records
JB
12
Fred Wickham
22 pts.
Mariosa Delta
Thirty Days Records
RK
 
Joe Henry
22 pts.
Thrum
Ear Music
HVB,PJ
 
Whitney Rose
22 pts.
Rule 62
Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
 
15
Dick LeMasters
18 pts.
Incompatible Things
Longneck Road Music
HDB,JJ
 
Jim White
18 pts.
Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
Loose Music
LM,SZ
 
Peter Gallway
18 pts.
Feels Like Religion
Gallway Bay Music
CVL,DHO
18
Thomm Jutz
17 pts.
Crazy If You Let It
Mountain Fever Records
 
19
Kris Delmhorst
16 pts.
The Wild
Blue Blade Records
 
20
Daniel Crabtree
15 pts.
In The Shadow Of His Wings
Independent
 
 
Jeremy Pinnell
15 pts.
Ties Of Blood And Affection
Sofaburn Records
 
 
Julien Baker
15 pts.
Turn Out The Lights
Matador
EZ
23
Amber Cross
14 pts.
Savage on the Downhill
Independent
 
 
Chris Blevins
14 pts.
Better than Alone
Horton Records
 
 
David Rawlings
14 pts.
Poor David's Almanack
Acony Records
 
 
Grainne Duffy
14 pts.
Where I Belong
Independent
GC,RW
 
Jeff Crosby
14 pts.
Postcards From Magdalena
At The Helm Records

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