Treasure Of Love
Rack’em Records & Thirty Tigers
A Timeless Set of Old and New Classic Tunes That Define Americana.
As the publicity shouts, this is the first album from the legendary combo in twelve years and therefore … expectations are high.
Content-wise, lockdown has given the trio the chance to collect and finish recording songs of their own songs and a few covers that have appeared in their live sets, but had never been fully realised in the studio until now.
The covers chosen suit the harmonies and heartbreak that have laced the Flatlanders’ output over many years – the Everly Brothers’ “Long Time Gone” sounds just as fragile as that earlier take, but now adds a wry world-weariness.
Initial single release “Sitting on Top of The World” is a rollicking turn-taking ear-worm, whereas “Give My Love to Rose” is as much imbued with the spirit of Johnny Cash as you’re ever likely to hear in the 21st Century.
Arrangements throughout are unfussy and wrought from the road; with the story and the timbre of the voices to the fore.
Allocation of song to voice is strong too – Jimmy Dale Gilmore’s tremulous tones suit the melancholy title track “Treasure of Love;” whereas Ely and Hancock tend to take the narrative course on songs like “Satin Shoes” and “Mobile Blues”.
In the trio format, there’s a good mix of turn-taking and two and three part harmonies, which offer a great deal of light and shade – “Ramblin’ Man” being a perfect example of where the egos retreat for the benefit of the song.
With fifteen songs to go at, there’s plenty of variety too – favourites for me are all the ones where Jimmy Dale Gilmore takes the lead; but especially “The Ballad of Honest Sam” with its Western imagery and mythology – timeless and Classic.
One low spot for me is the inclusion of the jokey “Mama Do the Kangaroo,” which is no doubt a live crowd-pleaser, but which sounds somewhat one dimensional and jars against the other material on offer – still, when you’ve got a skip button and fourteen other excellent tracks, I’m not complaining.
Twelve years did you say?
Let’s hope it’s not that long before The Flatlanders’ catalogue is further expanded, based on this timeless set of Classic tunes, old and new.