May 20: The Jam released their debut album In The City in 1977
“…armed and extremely dangerous The Jam stalk the decrepit grooves. If you don’t like them, hard luck they’re gonna be around for a long time. It’s been a long time since albums actually reflected pre-20 delusions and this one does”.
– Barry Cain (Record Mirror)
In the City is the debut studio album of The Jam. It was released in 1977 by Polydor Records and featured the hit single and title track “In the City”. The album includes two cover songs, “Slow Down” and the theme to the 1960s television series, Batman, the latter of which had also been previously covered by The Who, The Kinks and Link Wray.
Paul Weller’s guitar style on the album is very much influenced by Wilko Johnson and Pete Townshend.
The Jam – In The City – Electric Circus, August 1977:
Van Morrison remains seated and playing acoustic guitar for most of this show. This footage is in black & white and concentrates entirely on Van Morrison. It’s an incredible set-list and the delivery is first class.
May 19: Van Morrison released Avalon Sunset in 1989
“You have to remember that writing those sorta songs is not reality, it’s more like trance, dream, y’know, like dreamwork. The mythical thing can enter the creating but there’s the mythical place and the real place. And there’s both…I get it between waking and sleeping. Or, when I’m doing something else. I don’t sit down and think I’m gonna write about subject X or subject Y. I could be doing something and an impression comes in from outside and the song emerges out of that. It’s never thought about or contrived.”
– Van Morrison (NME, 1989)
Avalon Sunset is the nineteenth studio album by Van Morrison, it was released May 19, 1989. It is one his finest!
It is not on Spotify, but let us go through the album song by song.
The album opens with “Whenever God Shines His Light“, issued as a successful single that charted at #20 in the U.K. and was a duet with Cliff Richard.
And if California slides into the ocean Like the mystics and statistics say it will I predict this motel will be standing Until I pay my bill.
May 18: Warren Zevon released Warren Zevon (album) in 1976
We love Warren Zevon here at BTL and today it is 40 years since his big studio debut Warren Zevon (the album). A classic album that really has stood the test of time.
Though only a modest commercial success, the Browne-produced Warren Zevon (1976) would later be termed a masterpiece in the first edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide and is cited in the book’s most recently revised edition as Zevon’s most realized work. Representative tracks include the junkie’s lament “Carmelita”; the Copland-esque outlaw ballad “Frank and Jesse James”; “The French Inhaler”, a scathing insider’s look at life and lust in the L.A. music business (which was, in fact, about his long-time girlfriend and mother to his son Jordan); and “Desperados Under the Eaves”, a chronicle of Zevon’s increasing alcoholism.
Warren Zevon (with Jackson Browne) – Mohammed’s Radio live on British TV in 1976:
“Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.” – Bob Dylan (on the question about favorite songwriters asked by Bill Flanagan in 2009)
I have no reason to sit home and write songs all day without going out and playing for the folks. And I have no reason to go play for the folks unless I’m writing new songs so they can sort of feed off one another. And I just try to do the best I can.
Guy Clark doesn’t just write songs, he crafts them with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would have when faced with a stack of rare hardwood.
~Kurt Wolff (allmusic.com)
On May 17, 2016, Clark’s death was announced on his Facebook page.
Guy Clark, the Texas troubadour who blended high wit with pure poetry and turned it into timeless, vibrantly visual songs like “Desperados Waiting for a Train” and “L.A Freeway,” died today at the age of 74.
Desperados Waiting For A Train (FANTASTIC version from the legendary “Heartworn Highways” DVD):