Sings Harlan Howard
Produced by Ken Nelson
While sources are inconsistent–likely because facts are hard to determine when an artist comes from poor rootless beginnings–apparently Harlan was born in Detroit in 1927 and grew up in Michigan and Kentucky. He didn’t find success in his life’s calling until he was in his 30s, just before settling in Nashville and recording this debut album.
While he released a few of his own albums, he will be remembered mostly as a songwriter, for writing thousands of songs, many of which would become hits for various artists, first for hillbilly stars but also for soul and jazz artists. For example “Busted” would be a hit for both Johnny Cash and Ray Charles in 1963, and while “Chokin’ Kind” was first recorded by Waylon Jennings, it would become Joe Simon’s first number-one hits on the R&B charts.
This album came at a time when he was beginning to make a name for himself, and this set showed that he likely wasn’t going to run out of songs, as this features all new songs–from heartbroken ballads to the rather-dark humor of “We’re Proud to Call Him Son.” While Howard will be remembered for his songwriting (and for defining country music as “three chords and the truth”), this albums shows he had a good voice, perhaps coming out of Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb (although I’m sure he’d note others as well) and perhaps he should have been given more opportunities to record his own material. This isn’t essential but it suggests that fans of this artist (or hillbilly music in general) might be advised to check out Howard’s own recordings (along with the material he provided for others).
“We’re Proud to Call Him Son” download:
Taking the Rough with the Smooch
Kill Rock Stars (1993)
Classic U.K. riot grrrl/boy punk…pissed off and raw stomp and spit, focused like a pistol, snatching up some of the pieces where folks like Crass left off…this 10″ housing cuts from singles and EPs from the previous year or so.
Essential stuff for fans of girl punk.
On the Level
NW Metalworx NWM 003 (2016)
This 2016 long player houses late-70s recordings from this outfit from Astoria, Oregon, all the cuts likely unreleased, unpretentious hard rock with the chops wrapped up in the songs rather than excessive reasons to show off.
While hard rock was in rather sad shape at the end of the 70s, a few outfits still knew how to do it–Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher, UFO–and this outfit appears to have taken their cues from bands like those. They were also clearly appeared to be aware of where the rock bands of this era came from–Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and all the other pioneers of the 50s.
While taking cues from others, this has a sound all its own and a charm that the pomp-rock and cock-rock outfits of this era clearly lacked. Fans of obscure 70s hard rock should give this set a listen.
(1983 – 1992)
Once Upon a Time There Was Fuck Geez
Social Napalm Records
Anthology housing tons of essential cuts from this Japanese punk band…showing how a band can progress (not always a good thing with a punk band) over a decade without losing their punch…obviously influenced by 70s UK and USA punk and 80s USA HC but in traditional Japanese punk-style leaving most of the Caucasian competition in the dust as they take off from the get go, race down the blacktop and blast off to outer space.
Nonstop fun for any fan of loud fast punk rock…whether your bag is the Bad Brains, the Dictators or the raw and rockin version early U.K. Punk…or of course Japanese punk…you’re bound to get a big kick in pants from this collection.
— winch (author of
produced by Lolly Vegas and Pete Welding
After making music throughout the 60s, the Vegas brothers decided to fly their Native American flag high with the arrival of this band.
The music is mostly a mix of swamp rock and New Orleans-influenced funk, with Lolly’s unique electric-guitar sounds (combined with some funky rhythms) helping give the music a sound all its own. The influences appears to come out of Hendrix, Tony Joe White, and Frank Zappa, but the sounds of these brothers might have influenced those artists as well. The music is arguably best showcased on the three extended instrumentals.
While Native Americans had a huge influence on American music prior to this (with trailblazers of the 50s and 60s such as Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and Link Wray as well as the fact that decades earlier, Native American music was part of the New Orleans sound that influenced nearly all American music ), this band announced their heritages loud and proud with the arrival of this double-LP debut, and this helps remind us of an important social aspect of the early 70s–the lesser remembered Civil Rights movement known at that time as AIM, a struggle that burns through American history to the world today.
— winch (author of…