Classic Clips: Emmylou Harris “(You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie”, Old Grey Whistle Test 1977

In 1977 Emmylou Harris was at the first of many high points in her career. ‘Luxury Liner’ had come out the previous year and work had started on ‘Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town’. While the latter has been accused of having ‘over careful’ production it remains a favourite for me because it was the first album I heard by Harris. It also featured the members of the second version of her Hot Band playing here, with Albert Lee taking on the lead guitar spot from the legendary James Burton.

For a song that blends country and rock and roll to near perfection look no further than this version of the Chuck Berry song. Whether you know it as ‘You Never Can Tell’, ‘C’est La Vie’ or ‘Teenage Wedding,’ this has an infectious bounce that puts it up at the top level of happy song. Driven along by Emory Gordy’s bass and Hank DeVito’s pedal steel, the highlight is Lee’s understated guitar solo. The roll call for the rest of the Hot Band, John Ware, Glen D Hardin, and Rodney Crowell, guarantees a song that is worth playing whenever you feel in need of a bit of a lift.

About Tim Martin 230 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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Paul Kerr

Fantastic! I remember watching this first time around. I was lucky enough to see Emmylou on her first tour over here with Burton on guitar.

John French

Great choice Tim!