The Song Remains: Jerry Jeff Walker 1942 – 2020

Jerry Jeff Walker, Mr. Bojangles to many, died on Friday 23 October 2020 from complications arising from throat cancer first diagnosed in 2017.  In his 50 plus years career, Jerry Jeff Walker was a singer-songwriter, song finder and for many, the Cosmic Cowboy, recording the definitive album of the ’70s Austin, Texas, hippy country music scene, 1973s ‘Viva Terlingua’. While he is often included in the same breath as other ‘70s outlaw Texas country artists and singer-songwriters like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker was in fact born in Oneonta, New York, on March 16th, 1942. Like many artists he was drawn to the freer music scene of early ’70s Austin, and when he arrived there he is reputed to have said he had found his home. Continue reading “The Song Remains: Jerry Jeff Walker 1942 – 2020”

AUK’s top 10 americana albums ever: Dave Jarman

The search continues folks. Yes, its time to put yet another AUK writer into the hot seat. All each one has to do is to cast their eye across the whole history of americana and pick out just 10 albums that represent their personal top 10 ever. Simple really, only it’s not, as most have testified. In fact, if it wasn’t for this wretched pandemic, then the country’s hospitals would almost certainly be packed to the rafters with AUK writers suffering from nervous exhaustion, anxiety, palpitations and flashbacks to the ones they forgot to include. This week Dave Jarman steps nervously forward to join in with this act of collective masochism:

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AUK’s Chain Gang: Guy Clark “Instant Coffee Blues”

Last week’s Chain Gang entry ‘Such Great Heights‘ by Iron and Wine leads me to a song featuring, alongside coffee to deal with its after-effects, the aforementioned wine. Guy Clark’s ‘Instant Coffee Blues‘ features on his 1975 album ‘Old No. 1‘, and is a classic song in the storytelling realm, as it takes us through a casual one night encounter, Clark singing in the first verse “And she took him home for reasons that she did not understand/And him, he had the answers but did not play his hand/For him he knew the taste of this wine very well/It all goes down so easily but the next day is hell.” Continue reading “AUK’s Chain Gang: Guy Clark “Instant Coffee Blues””

AUK’s top 10 Americana albums ever: Martin Johnson

At AUK we are on a quest to find the ‘Top 10 Americana Albums Ever’. Over the coming weeks and months each AUK writer will in turn, present their own personal selections. When each writer has had their say, a shortlist of the most frequently chosen albums will be drawn up and voted on, in order to generate the definitive AUK writers top ten. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 Americana albums ever: Martin Johnson”

AUK’s top 10 Americana albums ever: Clint West

Welcome to a brand new feature. At AUK we are on a quest to find the ‘Top 10 Americana Albums Ever’. Over the coming weeks and months each AUK writer will in turn, present their own personal selections. When each writer has had their say, a shortlist of the most frequently chosen albums will be drawn up and voted on, in order to generate the definitive AUK writers top ten. So whilst we all have sleepless nights whittling the whole history of Americana down to just 10 albums, you can sit back and cast a critical eye. Both nods of approval and sighs of incredulity are fully expected. We welcome your comments and observations in the box provided at the bottom of the page. Continue reading “AUK’s top 10 Americana albums ever: Clint West”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Guy Clark “Cold Dog Soup”

Connections between James McMurtry, last week’s AUK Chaingang link, and Guy Clark –  no longer with us, but who started out writing around 20-25 years before –  are multiple and powerful. Both are key figures in the world of Texas singer-songwriting but far less well-known than they deserve. Continue reading “AUK’s Chain Gang: Guy Clark “Cold Dog Soup””

Ten great “Los Angeles” songs

Los Angeles seems like some kind of paradise from its iconic images and its magnetic pull on many who work in the visual and audio arts. Yet in song it can seem a much bleaker place than the constant sunshine of the sunshine state might lead one to imagine – it seems to retain the darkness of the long vanished LA of Phillip Marlowe. In music it’s a place that people seem to be going to go, or going from, pining for or wishing they could throw off. Let’s take a bit of a stroll down those wide boulevards – but let’s at least try and save Hollywood for another occasion. Continue reading “Ten great “Los Angeles” songs”

10 songs about other artists

Here are ten songs written about other artists. The list below is not the final word, but represents the start of a conversation. The idea is to explore some of our favourite artists singing about other artists. In most cases the songs are celebratory or pay tribute, others simply observe or comment and one here is not very complimentary. So, having set the ball rolling, I’m passing it over to you folks. I’m sure that the collective knowledge and wisdom of the AUK readership can come up with many more great additions. Please post them in the comments section at the bottom of the page. I hope that you enjoy my selections and I look forward to hearing yours. Continue reading “10 songs about other artists”

Classic Americana Album: Various Artists “This One’s For Him: A Tribute To Guy Clark”

Describing ‘This One’s For Him’ as a classic Americana album might seem surprising given it’s entirely made up of cover versions. Also, in no way does ‘This One’s For Him’ constitute a “breakthrough”  moment in the history of Americana like – to cite an obvious case – Uncle Tupelo’s ‘No Depression’. Nor yet is ‘This One’s For Him’ one of those back-to-the-roots folk albums that a more mainstream artist like Bruce Springsteen occasionally pulls out of the hat and which, as said album soars to sales levels beyond the wildest commercial dreams of most Americana artists, is nevertheless dubbed “classic Americana” by the mass media.
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