July 22: Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True (1977)

elvis costello my aim is true

On My Aim Is True, Elvis’ raw energy comes through in a way that’s never completely recaptured on later records. While the songs range from mellow country twang to full-on, spitting assault, there’s a strange cohesiveness to the album simply by virtue of its rough, rushed feel. Although it’s a studio album, there’s a latent energy to Nick Lowe’s production that grants My Aim Is True all the immediacy of a live show.
~Matt LeMay (pitchfork.com)

Elvis Costello’s debut album brought home to me just how timid Little Criminals really is. Costello’s best songs are anything but timid, but they’re as intelligent as some of Newman’s finest, as endearingly elusive in their meanings, and funny in the same bitter, self-deprecating manner. They are also, like Newman’s signature songs, very weird.
~Greil Marcus (rollingstone.com)

.. it’s that his sensibility is borrowed from the pile-driving rock & roll and folksy introspection of pub rockers like Brinsley Schwarz, adding touches of cult singer/songwriters like Randy Newman and David Ackles. Then, there’s the infusion of pure nastiness and cynical humor, which is pure Costello. That blend of classicist sensibilities and cleverness make this collection of shiny roots rock a punk record — it informs his nervy performances and his prickly songs. Of all classic punk debuts, this remains perhaps the most idiosyncratic because it’s not cathartic in sound, only in spirit.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (alldylan.com)

Welcome to the working week
Oh, I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you
Welcome to the working week
You gotta do it till you’re through, so you better get to it
~Elvis Costello (Welcome to the working week)

Welcome to the working week

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July 16: Neil Young released On The Beach in 1974

Neil Young - on-the-beach

“Good album. One side of it particularly—the side with ‘Ambulance Blues’, ‘Motion Pictures’ and ‘On the Beach’ — it’s out there. It’s a great take.”
~Neil Young

The second in Neil’s ditch trilogy, On the Beach was also disavowed by Young and unreleased on CD until 2003. It is weirder but sharper than Time Fades Away, with harrowing lows and amazing highs, including the off-the-cuff, eight-minute folk jam “Ambulance Blues.”
~rollingstone.com

Walk on:

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July 10: The Beatles released A Hard Day’s Night in 1964

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We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn’t when we were teenagers. The early stuff – the Hard Day’s Night period, I call it – was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship. And the Sgt Pepper-Abbey Road period was the mature part of the relationship.”
– John Lennon (1980)

A Hard Day’s Night is the third album by The Beatles; it was released on July 10, 1964. The album is a soundtrack to the A Hard Day’s Night film, starring the Beatles. The American version of the album was released two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records, with a different track listing. This is the first Beatles album to be recorded entirely on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes.

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In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day’s Night at number 5 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The soundtrack songs were recorded in late February, and the non-soundtrack songs were recorded in June. The title song itself was recorded on April 16.

…but A Hard Day’s Night is perhaps the band’s most straightforward album: You notice the catchiness first, and you can wonder how they got it later.

The best example of this is the title track– the clang of that opening chord to put everyone on notice, two burning minutes thick with percussion (including a hammering cowbell!) thanks to the new four-track machines George Martin was using, and then the song spiraling out with a guitar figure as abstractedly lovely as anything the group had recorded.”
– Tom Ewing, Pitchfork

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Great New Album from Steve Earle – So You Wannabe an Outlaw

“There’s nothing ‘retro’ about this record,” Earle says. “I’m just acknowledging where I’m coming from.” So You Wannabe an Outlaw is the first recording he has made in Austin, TX. Earle has lived in New York City for the past decade. “Look, I’m always gonna be a Texan, no matter what I do,” he says. “And I’m always going to be somebody who learned their craft in Nashville. It’s who I am.”
amazon.com

For me this is Steve Earle´s best album since Transcendental Blues (June 6, 2000). Backed by his band The Dukes (guitarist Chris Masterson, fiddle player Eleanor Whitmore, bassist Kelly Looney, and new members drummer Brad Pemberton and pedal steel player Ricky Ray Jackson) & recorded at Arlyn Studios in Austin. Produced by Richard Bennett.

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June 30: Lucinda Williams released Car Wheels On A Gravel Road in 1998

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June 30: Lucinda Williams released Car Wheels On A Gravel Road in 1998

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is the fifth studio album by Lucinda Williams, released on June 30, 1998, by Mercury Records. It was recorded and co-produced by Williams in Nashville, Tennessee and Canoga Park, California. The album features guest appearances by Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris.

“Intentionally or not, the album’s common thread seems to be its strongly grounded sense of place — specifically, the Deep South, conveyed through images and numerous references to specific towns. Many songs are set, in some way, in the middle or aftermath of not-quite-resolved love affairs, as Williams meditates on the complexities of human passion. Even her simplest songs have more going on under the surface than their poetic structures might indicate. In the end, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is Williams’ third straight winner; although she might not be the most prolific songwriter of the ’90s, she’s certainly one of the most brilliant.”
– Steve Huey (Allmusic)

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.


The Title track, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (Live 2009):

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Classic Live Album: Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas

The set features 26 songs, all originals except for covers of “Cocaine Blues,” “Nine Pound Hammer,” and “Who Do You Love,” and Van Zandt brigs these tunes to life with an easy grace that’s a striking complement to the emotional gravity of his lyrics, though he also gives his lighter side an airing here, occasionally cracking jokes and offering a pair of funny talking blues numbers, “Talking Thunderbird Blues” and “Fraternity Blues.” If the renditions of “Pancho & Lefty,” “If I Needed You,” “Rex’s Blues,” “For the Sake of the Song,” and “Tecumseh Valley” aren’t quite definitive, they’re beautiful and affecting, and thanks to the sharp performances, on-point vocals, and superb set list, this is a superior document of Townes Van Zandt on-stage, and is a fine introduction to his body of work.
-Mark Deming (allmusic.com)

Amazon.com dates the CD release @ June 24, 2008, and that finally pushed me (Calendar OCD) to put out a post about this AWESOME album.

I love live music and most of the music I listen to is actually concert bootlegs (mostly Dylan, Van Morrison, Springsteen, The Stones, etc..), but there are some great officially released live albums out there as well.. and this is one of them. Recorded in July 1973, and released as a double live album in 1977.

We really love TVZ here @ borntolisten.com and when we made our “TWZ best songs” lists (a couple of years ago), the favourite versions on my list are mostly from this wonderful album (Kathleen, Lungs, If I Needed You, etc..).

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