Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s been a while since I posted anything by Kris Kristofferson, who wrote the song that this series is named after.

It’s Father’s Day here in the UK, so I figured it only right to post something by the great man himself, who I got into purely because of my Dad’s record collection.

This song has featured here before, here, which may be worth a read as it relays the tale of what a naughty and embarrassing (to my parents) little boy I was.

But, as mentioned in that post, here’s a song which I simply did not understand when I used to sing-a-long to it in the back of the family car as we travelled to see our grandparents every Saturday. Back then, I didn’t know about metaphors and the like, so assumed this was just about an actual devil, rather than the cautionary tale about men who will say whatever they need to say to get…ahem…”what men want”:

Kris Kristofferson – The Silver Tongued Devil And I

Were it not for Papa playing these records by Kristofferson, Cash and the like when I was a kid, then I almost certainly wouldn’t be posting country tunes I like of a Sunday morning.

So y’know, you can blame or thank him, whichever you think is appropriate.

I know which side of the fence I’m on: Happy Father’s Day, Dad, and thanks for everything.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I really liked Like I Used To, the recent collaboration between Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen; whilst I’d been aware of both artists prior to that single, I’d never knowingly heard anything by either.

So when I saw that Olsen had released a new album, Big Time, earlier this month, I trusted that it wasn’t going to be whole album of Peter Gabriel covers, I snaffled a copy up sharpish.

Admittedly, I was partly drawn to it by some of the reviews I’d seen, not least this one on Pitchfork:

“…[Olsen] is reborn on Big Time as an alternately smiling or crying cowgirl. Olsen teases out the twang and pedal steel of her long-time country influences, like the audacity of Skeeter Davis and Tammy Wynette, or the blistering ache of Hank Williams. The tough-and-tender extremity of country music has always been present in her yearning cadences, now more lucid than ever, but here she leans further into its in-the-room glow, its honesty and resilience. As her heights magnify, so do her depths.

Sold!

Here’s the opening track, and it does everything that review suggests:

Angel Olsen – All the Good Times

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I’m spending the four day bank holiday weekend visiting my folks; much of Friday was spent listening to loads of my Dad’s favourite songs, which he watches on the big TV in the living room via YouTube.

This one, by old favourite of these pages, Merle Haggard, stood out as I’d never heard it before. With a back catalogue as large as his, it’s to be expected that I wouldn’t know every single song he ever recorded, but there was something about his voice on this one that piqued my interest: he sounded older, more frail.

It turns out that, recorded at his home on February 9, 2016, it was the very last song he recorded before he passed away, just under two months later.

Not to be confused with his 1985 track, Kern River, it goes like this:

Merle Haggard – Kern River Blues

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s been a long time since I posted any Townes Van Zandt – in fact I’ve just checked and it was over three years ago that he last featured, which I’m really surprised about.

So for reason other than that I love his music, lifted from his 1978 Flyin’ Shoes LP, here’s a long-overdue return:

Townes Van Zandt – Who Do You Love?

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Something new(-ish) for you this morning.

This is Lost Dog Street Band from their 2021 album The Magnolia Sessions, which is a series of albums released on the Anti-Corp label, all named The Magnolia Sessions, all by different artists.

Here’s how Anti-Corp describe the project on their website: ‘A series of live recordings by artists we love, in the elements. All recordings were performed in the moment. No overdubs. No “studio magic”. Just pure distilled talent.’

And here’s how Lost Dog Street Band describe their addition to the series on their website: “On a humid Summer evening, Benjamin Tod and Ashley Mae stood beneath a large Magnolia tree behind the Anti-Corp/Black Matter Mastering HQ and recorded some songs…Recorded live May 25th 2021 at approximately 8pm, on a hot 88 degree Nashville evening.”

This is so good, the crickets chirruping in the background are practically performing the rhythm track:

Lost Dog Street Band – Ballad of a Broken Man

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

This morning, for your delectation, a tune from an album I stumbled across last year.

Here’s what Omnivore Recordings (who released the album today’s tune is from) had to say about it:

“When Buck Owens took over co-hosting duties on Hee Haw in 1969, he brought along singer Susan Raye who he had also featured on his earlier television program The Buck Owens Ranch Show. As Buck’s popularity reached a new audience, the hits kept coming including hits for other artists associated with Buck, and Susan Raye emerged as a viable county artist in her own right. With 3 Top hits of her own in 1971, she certainly had her fans, but in addition to her solo work, she also recorded multiple albums with Buck in the first half of the decade.

Together Again collects 22 tracks released between 1970–1975, the five years in which both Buck & Susan released a dozen solo albums each plus 5 duet albums together. To say they were both prolific is obviously an understatement! Deep cuts from Susan coupled with Buck & Susan hits like The Great White Horse, “Togetherness,” and “Love Is Strange” make for a unique and satisfying overview of the couples’ work together. Compiled and Produced for Release by Grammy-winner Cheryl Pawelski and mastered by Grammy-winning engineer Michael Graves, Together Again’s packaging features photos, ephemera, and new liner notes from Grammy-nominated writer Randy Poe (Buck Em! The Autobiography Of Buck Owens.) Together Again is more than a document of the last five years of Buck’s classic reign at Capitol Records, it’s also the story of the beginnings of another country music superstar—Susan Raye.”

And I would say two things:

  • Can you legitimately call someone a “country music superstar” when nobody has ever heard of them?
  • Grammy Grammy Grammy Grammy Grammy Grammy Grammy Grammy

Anyway, here’s a little something from the pairs’ Together Again album; it’s rather great even if it is a bit “samey”, by which I mean: if you spread this across a whole album, it does become pretty tiresome after a while.

I’ll leave y’all to have your say about this:

Buck Owens & Susan Rayer – Love’s Gonna Live Here

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s a bit of a convoluted way that I’ve come to land on today’s post, so bear with me while I explain.

I follow a guy on Twitter, a Welsh stand-up comedian called Gary Slaymaker (@TheSlay if you’re interested). I follow him for three reasons:

  1. I think he’s funny
  2. He will often retweet things from his own Twitter feed which echoes with my own thoughts, politically
  3. He won’t remember this, or me, but he used to frequent the video store I used to run many years ago in the Cathays area of Cardiff.

The other day, he posted something saying that he had been to a funeral, and one of his other followers (Essex Harvard, Twitter handle:@_ALACS if you prefer) replied, quoting the lyrics from a tune by Lyle Lovett.

Now, I know very little of Mr Lovett’s work. In fact, all I really knew about him was that a) he features in one of my favourite films ever, Robert Altman’s The Player, and b) he was once briefly married to Julia Roberts (who he met on the set of The Player).

Friends of mine will know that I have an aversion to all films Ms Roberts appears in. There’s something about her that just rubs me up the wrong way. I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is (I think it’s her mouth, but what sort of a reason is that??), other than to say I think she’s awful and vastly over-rated. My mate Neil once described my position as the most surprising and unreasonable dislike he’d ever heard, and he’s probably right. I’m the same with Kiefer Sutherland (but not his father, Donald), which means that, yes: I hate The Lost Boys. Sue me.

I’ve tried to watch films and TV series that either appears in, but I just find myself wincing and bristling whenever they appear. I’d love to watch Hook or Erin Brockovich, for example, but Roberts is in them both so I avoid them (and Albert Finney’s in Brockovich and I love Finney, but not enough to over-ride my dislike of Roberts). I have three box-sets of Sutherland-starring 24, two still in their cellophane wrap. I know it’s supposed to be brilliant, but why put myself through it?

I’ve tried, is what I’m trying to say.

I can’t be the only one who has these absolutely unfounded prejudices against certain actors, can I? Help me out here, guys and girls.

Anyway, my knowledge of Lovett’s work has suffered as a result of his association with Roberts, but my interest was piqued by the aforementioned Twitter exchange, so I investigated further, and blimey Essex Harvard (Twitter handle:@_ALACS) was right.

So, here, from his Roberts-and-Sutherland-free album Joshua Judges Ruth is the Lyle Lovett song in question:

Lyle Lovett – Since the Last Time

That is just brilliant, so my thanks to my two unwitting Twitter users for unintentionally steering me in its direction.

Who said that good things don’t come from social media or funerals? Probably nobody. Let’s blame Boris anyway, it’s the sort of thing he’d probably say, assuming somebody else had written it for him to read out loud and he managed to follow that simple directive.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It seems like only yesterday that I last posted some Molly Tuttle, but a quick check, shows that, assuming I have tagged everything properly on here, it was actually back in 2019 that she last featured. A follow-up is, therefore, long overdue.

Fortuitously, the Californian songstress is back with a new album, released at the start of the month, but this time she has a credited band in tow: Golden Highway, whose name sounds like one of the bands with the weekly-changing moniker that Glen Ponder used to front on Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge (in order: Chalet, Debonair, Ferrari, Bangkok, Savour Faire, Lazarus and Golden Highway. See?).

Anyway, I digress (and, you’ll be surprised to note, I’ve managed to resist illustrating that last point with a clip from the show), Tuttle and the Highway’s (as the kids on the street are calling them) album Crooked Tree is a bluegrass beauty, replete with banjos, fiddles and even a spot of yodelling.

Here’s a track from it which ticks each of those boxes and to these ears also has a Plastic Jeezus-esque melody to it at the start:

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway – Nashville Mess Around

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I mentioned in Friday’s post that, had I been so inclined, I could have filled that whole playlist with religious songs which I own. Not because I feel the need to own religious songs, but because many artists I admire felt the need to record them, and I just happen to own records that they are on.

Nowhere is this more apparent – other than Gospel music – than in Country music.

And nobody recorded more than Mr Johnny Cash*.

Since its Easter Sunday – the big one – today, here are two from a record he released with The Carter Family back in 1962 (back before he had actually married June, due to small issue of him already having a wife and four kids, and her being married too):

Johnny Cash & The Carter Family – [There’ll Be] Peace in the Valley [For Me]

Johnny Cash & The Carter Family – Were You There [When They Crucified My Lord]

More soon.

*Maybe. I have no idea, I haven’t checked. Sounds true, though.