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Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009 Scott Foley

I might be risking whatever credibility I have here. I recently tripped upon a review of Earl Pickens & Family on the High Noon Saloon weblog, praising the collective's rerecording of U2's classic Joshua Tree album. I was understandably skeptical, but mailed away for it anyway.

In the ensuing weeks, I've enjoyed to different degrees albums by established acts like Bottle Rockets, Guy Clark, Paul Burch and others. But no single album has spent as much spin time on my CD player as the Earl Pickens Joshua Tree tribute. Why is that? Am I a proud or a sheepish fan, or maybe just a concerned onlooker.

Fact is, Pickens and his neighbors have assembled a covers record that accomplishes what few other tributes achieve. His versions of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Running To Stand Still" aren't simply twangy takes on the originals, hayseeded up for novelty value. While the arrangements are suitably laid-back (they recorded in Pickens' front room), the artist reimagines each of them. And, whereas something like Luther Wright & the Wrongs' Rebuild the Wall was crowded with sly winks and inside jokes, my impression is that Pickens' tongue is nowhere near his cheek for Joshua Tree.

* Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey, "Early In the Morning" Here and Now (Bar None, 09)
* Bob Dylan, "Mississippi" Tell Tale Signs (Columbia, 09)
* Naomi Sommers, "Now He's Gone" Gentle As the Sun (Amerian Melody, 08)
* Houston Marchman, "I Can't Go Back" Long Gone (self, 09)
* James Luther Dickinson, "Louise" Dixie Fried (Atlantic, 72)
* Delbert McClinton, "Starting a Rumor" Acquired Taste (New West, 09)
* Jubal Lee Young, "Last Free Place In America" Last Free Place In America (Reconstruction, 09)
* C. C. Adcock, "Y'All'd Think She'd Be Good 2 Me" Lafayette Marquis (Yep Roc, 04)
* Rev. Horton Heat, "Drinkin' & Smokin' Cigarettes" Laughin' & Cryin' (Yep Roc, 09)
* Alejandro Escovedo, "Irene Wilde" Bourbonitis Blues (Bloodshot, 99)
* Two Tons Of Steel, "Cryin' Eyes" Not That Lucky (Smith, 09)
* Amanda Shires, "Unwanted Things" West Cross Timbers (self, 09)
* Amelia White, "Said It Like a King" Motorcycle Dream (self, 09)
* Mindy Smith, "What Went Wrong" Stupid Love (Vanguard, 09)
* Avett Bros, "Laundry Room" I and Love and You (American, 09)
* Steve Earle, "Telephone Road" El Corazon (Warner, 97)
* Band Of Heathens, "LA County Blues" One Foot In the Ether (self, 09)
* Sons Of Bill, "Broken Bottles" One Town Away (Grey Fox, 09)
* Alela Diane, "Dry Grass and Shadows" To Be Still (Rough Trade, 09)
* Richmond Fontaine, "You Can Move Back Here" We Used To Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River (El Cortez, 09)
* Bottle Rockets, "Nothin' But a Driver" Lean Forward (Bloodshot, 09)
* Earl Pickens & Family, "Running To Stand Still" Joshua Tree (self, 09)
* Son Volt, "Down To the Wire" American Central Dust (Rounder, 09)
* Jon Snodgrass w/Two Cow Garage, "Remember My Name" Visitor's Band (Suburban Home, 09)
* Tom Russell, "Santa Ana Wind" Blood and Candle Smoke (Shout, 09)
* Mark Stuart, "Lonestar, Lovestruck Blues" Bend In the Road (Texacali, 09)

~ Scott

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