August 25: Lucinda Williams released Sweet Old World in 1992


August 25: Lucinda Williams released Sweet Old World in 1992

See what you lost when you left this world, this sweet old world The breath from your own lips, the touch of fingertips A sweet and tender kiss The sound of a midnight train, wearing someone’s ring Someone calling your name Somebody so warm cradled in your arms Didn’t you think you were worth anything See what you lost when you left this world, this sweet old world

Sweet Old World is Lucinda Williams’ fourth album, it was released 25 August in 1992. It is a fantastic album. It is a record that I bought after buying Car Wheels On A Gravel Road and her eponymous 1988 album, I love them all (and all she has given us since then). She really took her time between the albums, and the wait for new music from Lucinda Williams has often put my patience to a test. She never delivers bad stuff, most often she gives us fantastic songs. Sweet Old World is even better than its predesessor and almost as good as Car Wheels… and that is a masterpiece! Here’s a great performance of the title track, Sweet old World (live at Austin City Limits):

Thom Jurek wrote a fine review in Rolling Stone Magazine when the record was released: “Listening to Lucinda Williams’s Sweet Old World, her first album in four years, you have to wonder how many voices she abandoned — country, rock, blues, gospel — on the way to achieving this one, which embodies and transcends them all. Sweet Old World begins with the near-pop single “Six Blocks Away,” the tale of a poet whose love is just out of reach. Duane Jarvis’s andGurfMorlix’s guitars jangle through the mix, though Williams’s singing colors every song with a rural Louisiana rawness. The next track, “Something About What Happens When We Talk,” is a paean to a platonic relationship — that is, until the end, when she sings, “Well, I can’t stay around ’cause I’m going back South/But all I regret now is I never kissed your mouth.”Morlix’s delicate lead and slide fills decorate the tune (and the album) sparingly.

But Sweet Old World is a mixed bag. While the love songs express themselves as carnal confession — such as “Hot Blood,” in which Williams quivers when she hits the high notes — others (“Pineola,” “Sweet Old World”) are soaked in tragedy. Williams writes and sings them without irony. She conveys the loneliness of her protagonists not as an observer but as a participant in their circumstances. “He Never Got Enough Love” attains what Suzanne Vega’s “Luka” strove for. Even the cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will” that closes the album underlines her inability to remain separate from her characters…”


Lucinda Williams performing Something About What Happens When We Talk live in Austin, TX in 1989:

“Although Sweet Old World isn’t really a concept album, it often feels like one. Its first half is dominated by the title track and “Pineola,” two stunning meditations on suicide. Their sense of tragedy is reinforced with the closing cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will,” and their shadow hangs heavy over the rest of the album. ” – Steve Huey (Allmusic)

Sweet old World (Spotify album link):

– Hallgeir & Egil

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