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ROBERT EARLE KEEN —WALKING DISTANCE * PICNIC (Floating World) 2CDs

 

www.floatingworldrecords.co.uk

   

Floating World aren’t usually known for releasing singer-songwriters, never mind Texas singer-songwriters! Now, at long last we have a double helping of country folk from the erstwhile Robert Earl Keen (I recall the days he was releasing records under the name of REK Jr, and I have the vinyl to prove it in West Textures (the best album he's ever made; one of the many great songs on the album is the ever popular “The Road Goes On Forever”), The Live Album that was recorded at Sons Of Hermann Hall, Dallas, Tx to go with his debut album, No Kinda Dancer on Philo Records, and later released on Sugar Hill. 

 

Long time friend and, on a couple of occasions songwriting partner of Lyle Lovett, Keen combines hard driving and at times raucous grit with sensitive ballads. And there is also hit smart wit. Robert Earl Keen is as Alan Robinson rightly points out in his liner notes, a writer of quality fare. Little wonder the likes of Nanci Griffith, The Highwaymen, Lovett, James McMurtry, Joe Ely, George Strait, the Dixie Chicks and others have all covered his work. His descriptive lyrics, the earthy, at times raw vocal style have seen him doing the circuit and brightening out world since his self-funded debut in 1984. Keen’s 1998 Arista album Walking Distance is blessed with everything from the autobiographical “Down That Dusty Trail” to “Travelin’ Light” and “Billy Gray” to the wacky “Happy Holiday Y’all” (how Christmas might sound at the Keen’s). Others of note include the cleverly put together, and lively as they come entertaining “That Buckin’ Song”.

 

Produced by Gurf Morlix (guitars, pedal steel, mandocello) with the likes of Gene Elders, Lloyd Maines, Rich Brotherton, Bryan Duckworth, Bill Whitbeck, Ian McLagan, Ponty Bone and Tom Van Schaik in support there is a solid sound throughout.   

 

Keen’s worth may have been overlooked in some quarters, but his intelligence and ability to enlighten and entertain is up there with his peers. He was after all inducted alongside Lovett and the late Townes Van Zandt into the Texas Heritage Singer-songwriter’s Hall Of Fame in 2012. Among the biggest tracks on the John Keane produced, Athens, Georgia record is his version of “Levelland”. A co-write with James McMurtry it is joined by the mandolin warmed (Tim Ryan) “I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight” and of a mellow feel the pedal steel (John Keane) and acoustic guitar (Rich Brotherton) plied “The Coming Home Of The Son And Brother” is one of his best. On picking up the tempo and showing greater urgency Brotherton’s electric lead guitar and Tim O’Brien’s mandolin shape a superb, REK at his best perfectly paced ramble, “Shades of Grey”. There is also a version of Dave Alvin's “Fourth Of July”, and though it may not be quite as captivating as Alvin's it does pass the test. 

 

There is a feeling, Keen punches below his weight on Picnic but as noted does have its moments, and his duet with Cowboy Junkies’ act Margot Timmins final cut, “Then Came Lo Mein” offers much beauty, and with nothing other than Nancy Blake’s pristine cello and producer John Keene’s juggling acoustic, bass guitar and keyboards it certainly finds a comfortable place in one’s heart. Yes, Timmins sings background vocals on a good many tracks but can you imagine what a full-blown duet record would sound like!

 

                                                      Maurice Hope  

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The Medicine Show is the home of the House Concert here is our rolling news

 

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.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

The House Concert Hub community will use it for the purpose of providing a online, all singing all dancing, review and preview area for the music of the community, and the music community at large. Have a look around tell your friends use the share button, tell the world.

We need reviewers, the idea is we have a correspondents in every area of the musical global village, it will be edited and co-ordinated by Rob Ellen of Medicine Music publicist promoter and presenter, if you wish to subscribe as a correspondent, join up here and drop Rob a line, he will send you cd's and send you to shows, display and publicise your content.

Here starts an other adventure.

  Visit The House Concert European Hub (& Acoustic Music Club Network)

 

 


www.euroamericanachart.eu

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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