Cowboy Junkies: State Trooper (1986)

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Cowboy Junkies: State Trooper (1986)

When the world started becoming very noisy around the time of grunge, the Cowboy Junkies out of Canada had the oldest trick in any public speaker's book. When everyone else is shouting, you speak quietly and people will stop to try and hear what you are saying.

The Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions album -- recorded cheaply in a church -- was a whispery and atmospherically airy collection where Margo Timins' ethereal voice drew you in to their version of Sweet Jane, Blue Moon and a bunch of originals. It was a very cool -- in every sense of the word -- album and got them a lot of attention.

But this wasn't their debut album as many thought.

Two years previous they had released, to very little attention, the album Whites Off Earth Now! which anticipated the intimate sound of The Trinity Sessions but was a much more blues-based affair.

There was only one original on the album (Michael Timmins' Take Me) and the rest were sometimes eerie covers of songs by Lightning Hopkins, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker and Bukka White.

As much to the fore as Margot's voice was Michael's guitar and it was impressive in a taut, constrained and edgy way. It wouldn't return to the Junkies sound for a couple of year after the mega-success of The Trinty Sessions.

They also included this spooky version of Springsteen's State Trooper (from his Nebraska album) which hits a balance between being faithful to the original, presenting Margot's singular style and letting Michael's guitar add some discomfort to things.

 

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