Wednesday, 13 August 2008

"John David Souther" by JOHN DAVID SOUTHER (2008 Rhino 'Encore' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...






This review and hundreds more like it can also be found in my 
SOUNDS GOOD Music Book: 
1960s and 1970s MUSIC Volume 2 
- Exceptional CD Remasters 
It contains over 210 in-depth reviews (a whopping 2400+ e-Pages) 
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"...Room Enough For Pain..."


Texas-raised JOHN DAVID SOUTHER saw his self-titled debut vinyl album issued October 1972 on Asylum Records SYL 9003 in the UK and on Asylum SD 5055 in the USA. 

This August 2008 CD of "John David Souther" by JOHN DAVID SOUTHER on Rhino Encore 8122-79906-1 (Barcode 081227990619) is a bare-bones straightforward reissue on their 'Encore' label imprint of that warmly revered but criminally forgotten Seventies Country-Rock LP (35:06 minutes).

1. The Fast One
2. Run Like A Thief
3. Jesus In ¾ Time
4. Kite Woman
5. Some People Call It Music
6. White Wing [Side 2]
7. It’s The Same
8. How Long
9. Out To Sea
10. Lullaby

Stylistically - Souther is like Jackson Browne meets Gram Parsons meets David Blue with a huge dollop of The Eagles in-between. Think Glenn Frey circa 1972 and 1973 doing a good solo album - and you’re musically there. In fact - Souther’s association with the EAGLES then - is an on-going thing to this day. He co-wrote "Doolin' Dalton" on "Desperado" and co-penned three off the 3rd Eagles album "On The Border" - "You Never Cry Like A Lover", "James Dean" and "The Best Of My Love". Other co-writes followed also on their later albums ("New Kid In Town", "Sad CafĂ©"). The Eagles now include "How Long" (off this debut album) in their live repertoire because they covered it on the 2CD "Long Road Out Of Eden" set in 2007 (Grammy nominated).

But for his debut, Souther penned all 10 of its tracks on his own and they're well-written country rock songs served up by a lovely, heartfelt expressive voice and great musicians complementing the melodies (Glenn Frey plays Guitar on “The Fast One”, “Jesus In ¾ Time” and “Kite Woman”, Ned Doheny plays Guitar on “The Fast One”, “Some People Call It Music, “White Wing”, “It’s The Same” and “How Long” while Wayne Perkins puts in some Bottleneck Guitar on “Out To Sea”). I've loved this album for yonks now and my vinyl copy has graced more than a few turntables over the years. Speaking of comparisons - it's uncanny just how like RYAN ADAMS Souther sounds - or vice-verse - and I mean that as compliment to both artists. If Adams and his first band WHISKEYTOWN were making an album in 1972 - “John David Souther” is what it might sound like.

This re-released remaster is unfortunately a bit of a mixed bag soundwise. Disappointingly, some tracks have a very audible amount of hiss on them, while on others you don't notice it so much and they country-rock along sweetly. A plus is the bass and drums - very, very clear now - while Joe Tepp's slinky harmonica work on "White Fang" is up-front too. The achingly sad "It's The Same" is my favourite track and it's a treat to hear it sound so good (lyrics above). You can so hear the Eagles in “How Long” it’s uncanny and “Out To Sea” feels like a long-lost Jackson Browne outtake from his 1972 “Jackson/Browne/Saturate Before Use” debut album.

The packaging is all but non-existent. Rhino have issued this album on their new "Encore" label imprint and while the sound is good, the trade off for the £5 price tag is a gatefold inlay which lists only the tracks and no other info of any kind - not even who played on what. The label on the disc, however, reflects its US vinyl original - the Asylum Cage In The Sky logo.

Still, it's wonderful to hear this gem again - and at this price, a bona fide bargain. The later Souther-Hillman-Furay Band albums may follow in the next batch too.

Highly recommended.

PS: The RHINO ENCORE SERIES:
For info purposes, this CD is part of Rhino's "ENCORE" series - reissues of classic albums from the huge WEA catalogue. All 37 titles listed below were issued Monday 11 August 2008 and are based on the US versions of the albums; there's more promised in the forthcoming months. The label on each CD reflects the original American LP release, the Warner Brothers Tan label design for Curved Air in 1970, while the Burbank Avenue Of Trees label is on the McGarrigle disc of 1975, the pink Bearsville on Bobby Charles and so on. I've provided year of release and label for reference - and as you can see, some are re-releases, but there's also plenty of great titles seeing the light of day for the first time.

1.   Solid Bond by GRAHAM BOND [1970 on Warner Brothers, a 2LP set on 1CD)
2.   Byrds by BYRDS (1973 on Asylum)
3.   Bobby Charles by BOBBY CHARLES (1972 debut on Bearsville)
4.   3614 Jackson Highway by CHER (1969 on Atco)
5.   Pretties For You by ALICE COOPER (1969 debut on Straight)
6.   Easy Action by ALICE COOPER (1970 on Straight)
7.   Air Conditioning by CURVED AIR (1970 debut on Warner Brothers)
8.   Second Album by CURVED AIR (1971 on Warner Brothers)
9.   Hand It Over by DINOSAUR JR. (1997 on Blanco Y Negro)
10. A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die by THE FLESH EATERS (1981 on Initial)
11. Aretha Arrives by ARETHA FRANKLIN (1967 on Atlantic)
12  Let Me In Your Life by ARETHA FRANKLIN (1974 on Atlantic)
13. The J. Geils Band by THE J. GEILS BAND (1971 debut on Atlantic)
14. All To Bring You Morning by JOHNNY HARRIS (1973 on Warner Brothers)
15. The Living End by HUSKER DU (Live, 1994 on Warner Brothers)
16. Jobriath by JOBRIATH (1973 debut on Elektra)
17. Jo Jo Gunne by JO JO GUNNE (1972 debut on Asylum)
18. Glorious Fool by JOHN MARTYN (1981 on WEA)
19. Well Kept Secret by JOHN MARTYN (1982 on WEA)
20. Kate & Anna McGarrigle by KATE & ANNA McGARRIGLE (1975 on Warner Brothers)
21. Graham Nash and David Crosby by GRAHAM NASH & DAVID CROSBY (1972 on Atlantic)
22. Innocent Eyes by GRAHAM NASH (1986 on Atlantic)
23. GP by GRAM PARSONS (1973 solo debut on Reprise)
24. Grievous Angel by GRAM PARSONS (1974 on Reprise)
25. Third Eye by REDD KROSS (1990 on Atlantic)
26. Love Man by OTIS REDDING (1969 on Atlantic)
27. Doug Sahm And Band by DOUG SAHM and BAND (1973 on Atlantic)
28. Tarzana Kid by JOHN SEBASTIAN [of The Lovin' Spoonful] (1974 on Reprise)
29. John David Souther by JOHN DAVID SOUTHER (1972 debut on Asylum) [See REVIEW]
30. Sparks by SPARKS (This is their 1971 "Halfnelson" debut album reissued as "Sparks" in 1972 on Bearsville under their new name, Sparks)
31. A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing by SPARKS (1973 2nd LP on Bearsville)
32. God Bless Tiny Tim by TINY TIM (1968 on Reprise)
33. Zero Time by TONTO'S EXPANDING HEAD BAND (1971 on Atlantic)
34. Orange Crate Art by BRIAN WILSON and VAN DYKE PARKS (1995 on Warner Bros)
35. I've Got My Own Album To Do by RONNIE WOOD [Faces & The Rolling Stones] (1974 on Warner Brothers)
36. Now Look by RONNIE WOOD (1975 on Warner Brothers)
37. Mr. Bad Example by WARREN ZEVON (1991 on Giant) 

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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