Joe Ely: Streets of Sin (Rounder)

 |   |  <1 min read

Joe Ely: Streets of Sin (Rounder)

Ely from the flatlands of West Texas offers a triple threat: a memorable leathery twang cured in tequila, the paraffin soul of a rocker in the clothes of a Tex-Mex country singer, and a connection to a songwriting tradition which includes his gifted peers Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore (of the shortlived Flatlanders which included Ely), Townes Van Zandt, organist Augie Myers, Flaco Jiminez and the late Doug Sahm.

Sensible households will have his three decade-encompassing live albums (Live Shots of '80, Live at Liberty Lunch from '90 and Live at Antones in 2000) and personal favourites from a selection which would include Down on the Drag ('79), Musta Notta Gotta Lotta ('81), Honky Tonk Masquerade ('91) and Twisting in the Wind ('98). In other words a lotta Ely is a good thing.

This, the first album under his own name in more than five years (he appeared on the revived Flatlanders album), hardly breaks new ground - that's not Ely's thing anyway - but typically digs in with tough-minded songs (the bookend tracks come from old compadre Hancock) driven by a nailed-down band. As always he broods on the tough breaks in life (All That You Need) and offers photographic images or social observation.

Best tracks among the immediately familiar: the metaphorical Flood on our Hands and title track (pronounced "streets of seen"); the country-folk love ballad That's Why I Love You Like I Do; and Carnival Bum where he briefly branches into old Tom Waits speak-sing.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Inc: No World (4AD)

Inc: No World (4AD)

If this low lights, gentle, breathy and soul-infused r'n'b album weren't all done by this US duo of Andrew and Daniel Aged you'd imagine it could be an especially horizontal Back to MIne/Late Night... > Read more

Various Artists: Womad New Zealand Sounds of the Planet 2010

Various Artists: Womad New Zealand Sounds of the Planet 2010

Here is the official 14 track compilation of artists at the 2010 Womad in Taranaki (March 12-14) and includes the exotic oud-folk-pop of Kamel el Harrachi, alt-world by Calexico, Ethiopian singer... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

Youssou N'Dour: Dakar-Kingston (Universal)

After decades of almost becoming the biggest star out of Africa and commanding a global audience (support from Peter Gabriel, the 7 Seconds single with Neneh Cherry, Mandela concerts and so on)... > Read more

Prince: Around the World in a Day (1985)

Prince: Around the World in a Day (1985)

Even before he was cremated a few days after his death, the world was abuzz with how much previously unreleased music Prince Rogers Nelson – aka Prince – had left behind. Those... > Read more