RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Terry Allen, Juarez (PoB/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

The Radio . . . and Real Life
RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Terry Allen, Juarez (PoB/Southbound)

Part Tex-Mex short story about murder, desperation and consequences, and part song-cycle in a spare style, this '75 debut album by the artist/musician and Lubbock-born cult figure Allen was years ahead of its time in in its broad conception.

The storyline reaches back across time from the contemporary world to the Aztecs and the Catholic colonialist Cortez ("he crossed all that water with cannon and fodder, if need be to slaughter for Gods and for gold") but also exists in the realms of metaphor and symbolism (Dogwood) between the stark narrative and tough, beaten characters.

There is a Cormac McCarthy/Larry McMurtry quality about Allen's writing in that he explores various forms of being an outsider walking a dark path, and the warped belief that a highway might lead to freedom down the road.

This handsome reissue comes with a 48-page booklet of lyrics, Allen's tie-in artworks for Juarez and essays by the likes of Dave Alvin and a biographical/artistic overview by the Paradise of Bachelors reissue label.

Mostly it is just Allen at piano with Peter Kaukomen on guitar, but this is essential if Townes Van Zandt, Randy Newman, Dave Alvin, songwriter-novelist Willy Vlautin, Greg Brown, James McMurtry and Tom Russell have been on your musical radar. Or if films like No Country for Old Men held some appeal.

It is very different and a dark ride.

As the man himself says, "Today's rainbow is tomorrow's tamale". 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Department of Eagles: Archive 2003 - 2006 (Bella Union)

Department of Eagles: Archive 2003 - 2006 (Bella Union)

Department of Eagles became the vehicle for Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus to get their staccato sonic'n'sample experiments and increasingly dreamy pop into the wider world from their... > Read more

The Gladeyes: Psychosis of Love (Lil' Chief)

The Gladeyes: Psychosis of Love (Lil' Chief)

In a recent article for an art magazine I wrote about some of the work I had seen by young painters in Sydney: I noted there was a frequent and conspicuous retreat into whimsy which seemed an early... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN RECONSIDERED (2015): Back down to The River

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN RECONSIDERED (2015): Back down to The River

In 2003 when an all-star panel of musicians and critics got together to pick Bruce Springsteen's 40 greatest classics, four of the songs from his 1980 album The River – Independence Day,... > Read more

SIR NORMAN FOSTER'S BRIDGE AT MILLAU (2004):  Sublime Architecture; From Here to Modernity

SIR NORMAN FOSTER'S BRIDGE AT MILLAU (2004): Sublime Architecture; From Here to Modernity

We live in a cynical world, as Jerry Maguire said. And there are reasons to be cynical: corruption and graft, deja-vu politics, corporate fraud and payouts, famine and futility … Yet it... > Read more