John David Souther
Arguably The Finest Singer-Songwriter You Didn’t Know You Loved.
I’ve been listening too, and thoroughly enjoying this album for a few weeks now; and just as the sun broke through the steely grey January clouds I finally thought I must put pen to paper in praise.
Many of you reading this will vaguely be aware of the name JD Souther; but not really know why – well; he co-wrote several of the Eagles biggest hits (Best of My Love and New Kid in Town spring to mind) alongside several other stars in their wake over the years.
As usual I listen to albums several times before perusing the accompanying Press Release; and when I finally read it I was staggered to find that this album was first released in 1972! FORTY FOUR years ago…..there is no way anyone listening to this would believe it not to be a brand new release; but actually a historical document.
Yes, the opening track The Fast One (and several others) has a distinct flavour of the early Eagles, but with added fiery fiddle; and in it’s own way has aged better than many of the Eagles actual album tracks.
I am but a humble music fan but even I can spot a brilliant songwriter when I hear one; try Jesus in ¾ Time and you too will hear why David Geffen shackled him to the fledgling Asylum Records label; then despair at not hearing this song in the intervening forty odd years.
Plus, the simple guitar by; and harmonies with, Glenn Frey on this song and the following Kite Woman must surely have sent the Eagles singer running into the Eagles studio as they recorded their debut album later in the year. Just a thought.
I’m stretching my brain here; and apart from Gram Parsons I can’t think of anyone else crossing that Country/Rock/Folk boundary in this manner in 1970/71…..okay the Byrds broke the mould; but I’m baffled as to why JD Souther, with lyrically smart songs like Some People Call It Music and the bottleneck Country-Blues of How Long and Out To Sea has remained such a ‘cult’ or ‘secret’ over the years.
The original album closes with the delightfully short and sweet Lullaby; but this re-release has a handful of demos tacked on for added depth.
I’m not normally a fan of hearing ‘demos’ but the versions of Jesus in ¾ Time with only one guitar and a haunting fiddle; and Run Like a Thief, slowed down to a pace that can only be appreciated after midnight; just may be even better than the released versions.
You have the opportunity to put a musical wrong, right by ruching out and buying this album today; then pretending you’ve always been a fan. That’s exactly what I propose to do.
Released January 8th 2016