Jimmy LaFave: Peace Town (Music Road/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Goodbye Amsterdam
Jimmy LaFave: Peace Town (Music Road/Southbound)

When Texas singer-songwriter Jimmy LaFave died about 18 months ago many mourned the passing of not just a great writer but a wonderful interpreter of others' songs (notably Bob Dylan but also Donovan and Woody Guthrie.

In the wider world he is best – and perhaps only – known for aching version of Walk Away Rene but Elsewhere has reviewed many of his albums and caught in concert in his adopted hometown of Austin.

LaFave's voice could be filed with a rare pathos, he brought a kind of hurt coupled with resignation . . . but also kissed with an optimism that implied you just have to go through this stuff to get to better days.

This wide-ranging double CD collection – his final recordings – includes material written by Pete Townshend (Let My Love Open the Door), Woody Guthrie (the title track, Salvation Train and Sideline Woman based on lyrics given him by Woody's widow Norah), Dylan (a slow and considered My Back Pages with keyboards and violin, What Good Am I, You're Gonna Make Lonesome When You Go), Robbie Robertson (It Makes No Difference), Chuck Berry (Promised Land) and others.

He gets away some boogie rock on Bill Cunningham's I May Be Used But I Ain't Used Up and the 20-song collection closes with the gorgeous Goodbye Amsterdam by Tim Easton.

But the few originals here stand as their equals: Minstrel Boy Howling at the Moon is an almost archetypal Dylanesque LaFave song which yearns and aches with hope and hard lessons learned over the mournful fiddle; Ramblin' Sky is a downbeat blues groove with organ and the Untitled piece is an accelerating hood-down instrumental deftly placed before Goodbye Amsterdam.

In a gatefold sleeve with photos by Jimmy himself, this is yet another remarkable collection by a singular artist, more so given that many of these were recorded live in the studio when he'd been diagnosed with cancer.

He died two days after a star-studded tribute show in Austin in May 2017. He was 61. 

Share It

Your Comments

Graham Hooper - Oct 2, 2018

I Saw Jimmy at the Gluepot He Joined Lucinda Williams On Stage one night. What a Treat That was.

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

MGMT: Congratulations (Sony)

MGMT: Congratulations (Sony)

Anyone who tuned in for the pop-silly, enthusiastic debut Oracular Spectacular by these guys knew they were smart cookies and going to be around for a while: they seemed the perfect post-modern pop... > Read more

Goat: Commune (Rocket / Southbound)

Goat: Commune (Rocket / Southbound)

Goat out of Sweden have certainly got their psychedelic trancerock-cum-world music references in perfect alignment as they explore territory that many thought might have been left behind in the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER JEFFREY PAPAROA HOLMAN sees a Beat and a Beatle in performance

GUEST WRITER JEFFREY PAPAROA HOLMAN sees a Beat and a Beatle in performance

It was in my early twenties, an American Literature lecture at the old University of Canterbury townsite that I first heard Allen Ginsberg’s poetry read aloud, complete with an unheard of... > Read more

Otis Taylor: Otis Taylor's Contra Band (Telarc)

Otis Taylor: Otis Taylor's Contra Band (Telarc)

Singer-guitarist Taylor is nominally posted here under Blues in Elsewhere, but -- as always, see previous reviews here -- he doesn't easily fit into the prescription, broad though it might be.... > Read more