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

Various: Born to the Breed, A Tribute to Judy Collins (Wildflower)

Various: Born to the Breed, A Tribute to Judy Collins (Wildflower)

These past few years there has been something of a rediscovery of old folkies, what with Springsteen paying tribute to Pete Seeger, the various Woody Guthrie compilations, Bob Dylan's radio show... > Read more

Paul McCartney: Kisses on the Bottom (MPL/Universal)

Paul McCartney: Kisses on the Bottom (MPL/Universal)

The distance of time allows us an even more objective view of the Beatles' remarkable and singular career, and the diversity of their songwriting. It is hard to imagine a pop band (She Loves... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

Ernest Tubb: It's America, Love It or Leave It (1965)

The great patriot Tubb has appeared at From the Vaults before with his mind-numbingly awful It's For God and Country and You, Mom written by Dave McEnery. Ernest clearly like to keep... > Read more

RAY DAVIES INTERVIEWED: Still a well respected man (2008)

RAY DAVIES INTERVIEWED: Still a well respected man (2008)

Ray Davies, the former Kink and for the past decade a solo artist, say that these days he “stays -- notice I don’t use the word ‘live’ -- at Highgate Hill which is literally... > Read more