Preview: John Stewart, California Bloodlines (Label: Rev-Ola)
John Stewart had already secured his place in pop history twice - first as one of the late-Fifties folk sensations The Kingston Trio, then as composer of The Monkees' "Daydream Believer" - when he made this pioneering country-rock milestone in 1969.
Recorded live to 2-track with many of the same Nashville session musicians used by Dylan, California Bloodlines is perfectly poised on the cusp of old country virtues and new hippie attitudes, full of heartache, wanderlust and reminiscence, and great lines like "I don't often get the feeling I am taking to the wind and no-one's listening".
That's the opening gambit of "Some Lonesome Picker", one of several beautifully wrought classics included here, alongside "July, You're A Woman", "Never Goin' Back" and "Omaha Rainbow".
But most extraordinary of all is the unashamedly sentimental "Mother Country", a moving account of life in "the good old days", focusing on an old-timer's final ride in the local parade, three days before his death.
Dripping with stars 'n' stripes-stuck pride, it possesses a rare but powerul poignancy.
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