Paradise of Bachelors to reissue Terry Allen’s classics, Juarez and Lubbock (On Everything)!

I prefer to view Terry Allen’s 1975 debut, Juarez, as more a literary musical tour of the underbelly of border town existence as seen through the intersection of two couples, than, as it is often referred to, a concept album, which in Pop/Rock terms typically denotes varying levels of artistic pretense. In fact Juarez seems so refreshingly free of pretense, as to sucker you into it’s world, much like a particularly well storied drunk at a cheap bar might, and you don’t know if you’re gonna get rolled, arrested, or escape with a new found wisdom by the end of it. Funny thing is, the stories are so compelling that even aware of this you’re in it for the ride, consequences be damned.

It would be four years before Allen issued his 2LP follow, Lubbock (On Everything), and though neither record sold well, those that heard them (among those being Lucinda Williams, Little Feat, Sturgill Simpson, Don Everly, Doug Sahm, Guy Clark, Bobby Bare, Jason Isbell, and David Byrne, with whom he would collaborate on the soundtrack for True Stories ) became disciples, spreading the gospel of Allen’s unique vision. Thank the good folks at Paradise of Bachelors for putting these back in print, where they can only influence songwriting for the better. Also, these reissues look so nice, that even though I’m fortunate enough to own originals, I’ll be picking them up.

From Paradise of Bachelors website promo:

“As described in one of the periodic narrative “dialogue” interludes spoken by Allen, Juarez recounts a deceptively “simple story”: a bleak journey, told in nonlinear terms, from Southern California through Colorado and into the Texas-Mexico borderlands. Like many cross-country road trips, it’s as harrowing as it is humorous, often within the margins of a single song or even an isolated line. The action revolves around two couples and their fateful—or arbitrary—murderous meeting in Cortez, Colorado. Sailor, on leave from the Navy, meets Spanish Alice, a prostitute, in a Tijuana bar; they get married and honeymoon in a mountain trailer park in Cortez. Meanwhile, on a crime spree detour, pachuco antihero Jabo and the witchy “rock-writer” Chic Blundie drive North from L.A. to Cortez on their way South to Jabo’s hometown of Ciudad Juarez (until recently the homicide capital of the world). Only one couple emerges from the bloody trailer, escaping across the New Mexican desert to Juarez, where they part, assuming (or absorbing?) new identities.”

Terry Allen: Juarez (PoB-26)




Happy birthday. Jeffrey Lee Pierce.

The Gun Club’s 1981 debut, Fire of Love, is an absolutely essential record in any collection of modern American music. Combining Blues, Country and Rockabilly influences, with Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s Punk American Gothic literary bent, Fire of Love perfectly fuses all ingredients into it’s own unique cocktail. When I first bought a copy, at about 14, I became absolutely obsessed with, even to the point of disappointment with their subsequent recordings. And while I do maintain that Fire of Love is JLP’s greatest musical achievement, lyrically he was just beginning to develop his voice, penning some of the best examples of American songwriting, in the wake of his opening salvo.

Random sidebar: Several years ago, at three shows within roughly a month’s time, I heard three bands cover Sex Beat; The Coathangers, Paint Fumes, and (I think) King Khan. The Jeffrey Lee Pierce shadow looms large.

Song of The Day: Bob Dylan – Mixed Up Confusion (take 5) (1962)

It’s Bob Dylan’s birthday!
The full fledged Dylan electric era sound, in 1962. Mixed Up Confusion is the first appearance of what Dylan would later refer to as “that wild mercury sound”. Amazing how Dylan already had this sound worked out years prior to the epochal and controversial “going electric” period of Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home, and his Newport Folk Festival appearance. The man was so far ahead of the game, that it took him years just to catch up with himself!

With all the scholarly research of the numerous Dylan obsessives out there, I’m gonna pass on the story of this song and it’s many permutations to a link more qualified for such a task. Suffice it to say here, that it was Dylan’s first single, cut during the Freewheelin’ Sessions, and does not appear on that record, although it’s B-side, Corrina, Corrina, does.

Song of The Day: Jonathan Wilson – La Isla Bonita

Jonathan Wilson takes Madonna to the coast with a dreamy California psych version of her eighties hit, La Isla Bonita. This sounds like it could have been an outtake for The Byrds, possibly a transition single in the brief moment between the lush and criminally under acknowledged, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, and the Country Rock milestone, Sweetheart of The Rodeo.


I highly recommend searching out this hour long documentary on the Father of Modern American Guitar, John Fahey. Fahey tirelessly trudged the country’s back roads, compiling a vast collection of forgotten musical history, which he in turn, reinterpreted through a panoply of international influences, creating a truly distinct body of work. In conjunction with the record label, Takoma, that he started, he helped establish solo guitar as a respected art form and laid the groundwork for all such experimentation that followed. His playing is simultaneously beautifully expressive and unpredictable. To listen to a Fahey record is to go on a journey. Do yourself a favor and take the trip.

This is a sixteen minute clip, from 1976, that really encompasses the scope and breadth of Fahey’s ability.

Listen to what he does with a Blues cut. Actually, I consider all Fahey’s work to be Blues, regardless.


And in lucky me news, I was psyched to grab an original of this LP, for less than a buck, at an estate sale a month ago!