This tri-fold, slipcased set combines the previously released 2-CD and DVD editions, remixed and remastered (in 5.1 surround for the DVD), with new liner notes by Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona. For fans, this is a nice souvenir of the original bandâ€™s end days. Recorded on November 9, 2004, the set captures GBV on their farewell tour, seven weeks before their final show, which was documented on the DVD release The Electrifying Conclusion. The set list includes five songs from their then-latest LP, Half Smiles of the Decomposed, and twenty-five more going all the way back to 1989â€™s â€œNavigating Flood Regions.â€ This date encapsulates everything that was both exhilarating and frustrating about Guided By Voices. The material remained inspired and the performances provocative, even as the band descended from tight and powerful to drunk and sloppy, but they were very drunk and sloppy by the time they got to the end of the set. This is familiar territory for GBV fans, and perhaps the most fitting epitaph the band could have recorded. It doesnâ€™t reveal the bandâ€™s full musical glory, but it does tell their story. [Â©2017 Hyperbolium]
This October 1988 date found Yoakam headlining a bill with his hero and mentor, Buck Owens. Yoakam had rescued Owens from self-imposed retirement earlier in the year, and together they topped the chart with a remake of Owensâ€™ â€œStreets of Bakersfield.â€ The day before the show, Yoakamâ€™s third album, Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room, crested at #1 on the Billboard country chart, and it would go on to net Grammy, ACM and CMA awards. Owens opened the show with a tight 30 minute set (available on a companion volume), with Yoakam joining him for â€œUnder Your Spell Again.â€ Owens returned the favor during Yoakamâ€™s set to sing their recent chart topper.
Yoakamâ€™s set combined selections from his first three albums, mixing original material with covers of songs by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman (â€œLittle Sisterâ€), Homer Joy (â€œStreets of Bakersfieldâ€), Johnny Cash (â€œHome of the Bluesâ€), Johnny Horton (â€œHonky Tonk Manâ€), Lefty Frizzell (â€œAlways Late With Your Kissesâ€) and Stonewall Jackson (â€œSmoke Along the Trackâ€). His original material included nearly all of his hits to that point, as well as several album tracks. The band is superb, with Pete Andersonâ€™s guitar and Scott Jossâ€™ fiddle really standing out. Yoakam turns on the sex appeal as he introduces the sultry â€œWhat I Donâ€™t Know,â€ the band turns up the heat for â€œPlease, Please Babyâ€ and â€œLittle Sister,â€ and the audience joins in enthusiastically to close â€œHonky Tonk Man.â€
As on the duet sung together in Owensâ€™ set, the happiness shared by Yoakam and Owens in teaming up for â€œStreets of Bakersfieldâ€ is palpable – Owens reveling in the new artistic partnership that rekindled his interest in music, and Yoakam in working with his idol and mentor. Each has such a distinct voice, that the delight in hearing them sing together continues to rise as they swap verses and share the chorus. Flaco Jimenez joins the band onstage and stays to accentuate the sorrow of â€œBuenas Noches From a Lonely Room,â€ with Jossâ€™ fiddle and Andersonâ€™s low strings adding mournful notes. Yoakam tells several stories on the DVD that are elided on the CD, including an account of his first meeting with Johnny Cash.
The partnership between Yoakam and Anderson was incredibly fruitful, both artistically and commercially, but it wasnâ€™t always easy to see past Yoakamâ€™s charisma to Andersonâ€™s immense talent as a guitarist. But here, even with Yoakam center stage, you canâ€™t help but be drawn to Andersonâ€™s licks as he solos on â€œHome of the Blues,â€ hot picks the closing â€œThis Drinkinâ€™ Will Kill Me,â€ and plays Yoakam on and off the stage with a twangy instrumental bumper. New Westâ€™s reissue combines the previously released CD and DVD, and itâ€™s four-panel booklet provides credits, but no liner notes. Itâ€™s a terrific package that plays just as well on the stereo as it does on the screen. [Â©2017 Hyperbolium]
There is no shortage of live Buck Owens recordings, but nearly all of them date to his record breaking run in the 1960s. Owens was not only a terrific songwriter, guitarist, singer, bandleader and businessman, but a gifted stage performer whose personal magnetism drew fans to his tours and to his dying day, to his beloved Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. By the time of this 1988 performance on Austin City Limits, it had been more than a decade since Owens had recused himself from his music career. The 1974 death of Don Rich had drained his enthusiasm, and with his energy focused on the radio stations heâ€™d begun buying in the 1960s, it took an insistent Dwight Yoakam to pry Owens out of his self-imposed exile.
This October 1988 date found Owens and Yoakam on the same bill, each playing a full set and guesting on the otherâ€™s. Yoakamâ€™s Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room had just crested at #1 on the album chart, the lead single, a duet with Owens covering â€œStreets of Bakersfield,â€ had topped the singles chart in June, and the title single from Owensâ€™ own return to the studio, Hot Dog, would be released the following week. So there was a lot to celebrate on this Sunday night in Texas, as Owens showed that the layoff hadnâ€™t impacted his musicality or showmanship, and that the latest edition of the Buckaroos, including keyboard player Jim Shaw, bassist Doyle Curtsinger, guitarist and steel player Terry Christofferson and drummer James McCarty, was sharp and powerful.
With sixty Top 40 hits (and more than twenty chart toppers!), Owens could barely graze the highlights of his catalog in this thirty minute set But in only 11 songs he manages to touch on classic hits, album cuts, covers of his hero Chuck Berry, and material from his upcoming album. And he does it without resorting to the medleys that had helped him squeeze more fan favorites into his live sets of the 1960s. The jangle of Owensâ€™ silver sparkle Telecaster (which may very well have been Don Richâ€™s â€˜66) kicks off â€œAct Naturallyâ€ and the band falls in behind him. Curtsinger provides the harmony foil once supplied by Don Rich, and Christofferson echoes Tom Brumleyâ€™s steel solo on â€œTogether Again.â€
Owens is in terrific voice, and his enthusiasm belies the number of times heâ€™d performed â€œLoveâ€™s Gonna Live Here,â€ â€œCrying Time,â€ â€œTiger By the Tailâ€ and â€œA-11,â€ each remaining fresh and potent decades after theyâ€™d been introduced. Even more enticing is a duet with Yoakam on â€œUnder Your Spell Again.â€ The pair donâ€™t lock their vocals together as seamlessly as had Owens & Rich, but the joy in their voices – Owens rediscovering the joy of a singing partner, and Yoakam singing with his hero – is palpable. The single â€œHot Dog,â€ a cover of Owensâ€™ 1956 turn as Corky Jones, gives the band a chance to rock, as does the closing cover of â€œJohnny B. Goode.â€
This set combines the previously released CD and DVD into one package, with the same song list shared by both formats. The four-page booklet includes credits, but no liner notes, and no remembrances from anyone involved as to how this show came together or what it meant to the participants. For the second half of the bill, including â€œStreets of Bakersfield,â€ check out the companion volume on Dwight Yoakam. Owens took this band on the road, producing the belatedly released double-disc Buck Owens Live In San Francisco 1989, but itâ€™s hard to top a Sunday night in Texas with Buck & Dwight! [Â©2017 Hyperbolium]
Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark are long time musical compadres who also happen to be Texas roots music legends. The duo recorded a pair of albums as Delbert & Glen in the early ’70s, but as their individual careers took off (McClinton as a recording artist and performer, Clark primarily as a songwriter), additional collaborations became a topic of discussion rather than a studio reality. Having rolled around the idea of a new project for more than a decade, the pieces finally came together, with McClinton’s songwriting partner Gary Nicholson helping to craft this album’s original material.
The ease with which these master musicians rekindle their rapport is nearly as breathtaking as the music that their collaboration has produced. Both players wear their maturity well, with the raspy edges of their voices adding authority to songs that retain a rye attitude. Don’t expect apologies for their seasoned points-of-view; as they sing on the album’s opener, they’re not old, they’ve just been around a long time. The experience of those years fuels both their performing and songwriting, though as they sing in “Whoever Said it Was Easy,” even the wisdom of age is powerless to unknot the eternal mysteries of relationships.
The album’s mix of blues, R&B and funk reaches back to the duo’s earlier recordings, with a vibe that’s warm and comfortable. The band slips effortlessly into the deep musical grooves, as if they’re playing the second set for an appreciative weeknight crowd. McLinton adds tasty harmonica solos on “More and More, Less and Less” and the slinky “Sure Feels Good,” and the pianos (courtesy of Bruce Katz and Kevin McKendree) add New Orleans roll on “Been Around a Long Time,” “Oughta Know” and “Good as I Feel Today.” Whether or not they’re actually blind, crippled or crazy (or lonesome, on’ry and mean, for that matter), McClinton and Glen are certainly wise, talented and in each other’s pocket. [Â©2013 Hyperbolium]