Friday, July 11, 2008

In the Toolbox........

A few days ago, i made my first contribution to Star Maker Machine - a cool group-blog that features a different theme each week. They have a few regulars - boyhowdy form CoverLayDown, divinyl from Ceci N'est Pas un Blog, paul from SettingTheWoodsOnFire, and ramone666 from For The Sake of the Song (to name a few) - but they also encourage reader submissions.
This week's theme has been Hell Week, i.e. songs about hell, the devil, sinners, etc. As soon as i saw the theme, i knew exactly what song to post - Ray Wylie Hubbard's Conversation With The Devil.

i remember hearing it a few years ago when XM radio was a new thing. Up to that point, i had heard a few Ray Wylie songs, but really only knew him from the infamous shoutout Jerry Jeff gives in his recording of RWH's Up Against The Wall....

Anyway, you can check it here, so i don't have to repeat myself.

There's a similar story about Nelson's first post on StarMaker here. Nelson runs the new-born FiftyCentLighter, and in addition to a This Mornin'.... shout-out, he's got a great post on Son Volt's Trace. He calls it an essential album, and he couldn't be more right. i, too, had been thinking about going through my catalogue of CD's for those deserted island, can't live without, bought multiple copies of...... discs - basically, a greatest albums that i own feature. Trace will definitely make the list, and i wanna thank Nelson for reminding me i wanted to do this.

As for the title and picture - i had this miniature toolbox that came in a package deal with Cross Canadian Ragweed's Garage (along with a vinyl and a mechanic's shirt). I had no idea what to use if for (tools were out of the question as i could maybe fit a hammer in there....) until i realized that it was just wide and deep enough to fit a long row of CD cases. Perfect! i had recently outgrown my flipbook style CD case and was a little tired of the discs getting scratched. And so, with the help of lots of haphazard music stickers, the Toolbox O' Music was born. It's normally filled with the newest additions to my library; however, there are those few albums that never seem to get bumped out. This feature post will highlight those masterpieces.

So, to start, we'll go way back..........

Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger
Columbia/Legacy ~ 1975

The quintessential must-have album for any fan of country music. Red Headed Stranger was created as a concept album that rolls along seamlessly and tells of a preacher on the run from the law. Filled with short piano interludes and multiple reprises of Time of the Preacher, the album takes you on ride through the Old West making stops in barrooms and brothels along the way. In 1986, a movie was filmed that loosely followed the flow of the album.

Red Headed Stranger catapulted Willie into the same country-stardom that he lives in today. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Music charts and the hit single Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain was his very first No. 1 single.

Thought of as a troubadour-songwriter, Willie's most famous tunes, however, were not self-pinned. Blue Eyes was written by Fred Rose, Seven Spanish Angels by Eddie Setson and Troy Seals, I'd Have To Be Crazy by Steve Fromholz, etc. But Willie has the ability to give each and every song he records his own touch, whether it's from his tenor-twang, the timbre coming from Trigger, or simply his 'Willie Nelson Charm'.

The two stand-out tracks on Red Headed Stranger were not Willie originals either, but because i've never heard any other versions and HE OWNS THEM, they might as well be his.

Willie Nelson - Can I Sleep In Your Arms
Willie Nelson - Hands On The Wheel

This album, as well as any forthcoming album on this feature, is best enjoyed from front-to-back, and with deep consideration. i appreciate when you can tell than an artist spent time planning a track order and the album has the feel of a 40 minute story with a beginning, middle, and end - as opposed to a 10-14 track collection of their best songs at the time.
So put this one in and take a slow drive with your "hands on the wheel" listening to "something that's real."


  1. Thanks for the shout out about my new blog.

    I've been coming here for a while. You turned me on to the Dedringers. Love the Wagon Wheel post to.

    Keep it up.

  2. What a great song 'Can I Sleep' is. Could listen to that album over and over again. Oh wait, I already do. Like that Star Maker site too. The ATX is calling you again already P.

  3. great post over there at sm.
    for my money, best land-man music-reviewer.

  4. How do I get in contact with Eddie Setson and Troy Seals? I'm a big fan & want to send them a fan letter. I can be reached at:
    Charles M. Prignano
    5916 Leather Drive
    Colorado Springs, CO
    (719) 534-9112