Album: Larry Jon Wilson, Larry Jon Wilson (1965)

Andy Gill
Friday 13 June 2008 00:00

An associate of the country outlaw generation that included Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Larry Jon Wilson's burly baritone burr brought tableaux like "Ohoopee River Bottomland" and "Sheldon Church Yard" to vivid life, but his refusal to compromise curtailed his Seventies career after just a few albums.

He even harboured reluctance about this comeback album, which he insisted on doing "with no sticks and no plugs". Trimmed to little more than his voice and guitar, the results are as gripping as the late Johnny Cash recordings, full of languid ruminations on the past and bitter existential reflections like "Where From" ("A world you never asked for holds you hostage till you're 21", etc).

His candid attitude can be gleaned from the fact that, while Elvis does an "American Trilogy", Wilson here does a "Losers Trilogy" and a "Whore Trilogy", the latter incorporating poignant renditions of Paul Siebel's "Louise" and Mickey Newbury's "San Francisco Mabel Joy". There's also a version of the Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson "Heartland", its account of disillusion withering hope perfectly suited to Wilson's world-weary tones.

Pick of the album:'Heartland', 'Whore Trilogy', 'Where From', 'Shoulder'

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