Search - Emmylou Harris :: Cimarron

Emmylou Harris
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

By the time Emmylou Harris released Cimarron in 1981, she'd established herself as one of country music's most dependable performers. Dependable is also the word that applies to this 11-song collection. Lacking the musical...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Emmylou Harris
Title: Cimarron
Members Wishing: 19
Total Copies: 0
Label: Eminent Records
Original Release Date: 1/1/1981
Re-Release Date: 5/9/2000
Album Type: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
Styles: Classic Country, Country Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 663292503026, 075990360342, 075992360340

By the time Emmylou Harris released Cimarron in 1981, she'd established herself as one of country music's most dependable performers. Dependable is also the word that applies to this 11-song collection. Lacking the musical cohesiveness of its immediate predecessor, the bluegrass-flavored Roses in the Snow, as well as the thematic thrust of her next ambitious outing, 1985's The Ballad of Sally Rose, Cimarron feels like a bookmark in the singer's extensive catalog. Which isn't to say that it isn't studded with some stunners, including a resolute cover of Poco's "Rose of Cimarron" and a hushed duet with Don Williams on Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You." Still, one is tempted to dismiss Cimarron as a mere collection of well played, beautifully sung songs with little rhyme or reason. But with rhymes like those in tunes by Bruce Springsteen and Paul Kennerley sung by a singer with impeccable taste and grace... well, that's reason enough to give this one a shot. --Steven Stolder

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CD Reviews

It's finally out on CD!
Matt Coker | Davis, CA, USA | 06/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thank goodness and thanks to Eminent Records for having the intelligence to release this outstanding Emmylou Harris album on CD. CIMARRON is one of my favorite Emmylou Harris albums, and it isn't had to understand why each time I listen to these ten magnificent songs. Emmylou Harris' vocals are exceptional, as usual. The packaging on this reissue is superb: excellent linear notes, lyrics, and quotes from Hot Band members. The music is what makes CIMARRON exceptional. The guitar intro to "Rose Of Cimarron" starts the album off with spirit, it's a remarkable interpretation of the Poco hit. The traditional "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue" is gorgeous. Emmylou and Don Williams are perfect vocal partners on "If I Needed You". These marvelous duet was a #3 hit. "Another Lonesome Morning" is one of my favorites on this album. "The Last Cheater's Waltz" is brilliant. "Born To Run" the first Paul Kennerley song on one of Harris' regular albums (Kennerley would contribute many songs to her albums later, as well as co-write THE BALLAD OF SALLY ROSE with Harris). She would also cover many Bruce Springsteen songs in the future, but "The Price You Pay" was the awesome first. Chip Taylor, who also penned "Wild Thing" and "Angel Of The Morning", wrote about Emmylou Harris' cover of "Son Of A Rotten Gambler". It's a fabulous version. Harris brings new life to the classic "Tennessee Waltz". Former Hot Band member Hank DeVito co-wrote "Tennessee Rose", the albums outstanding closing song, a #9 hit. The Crowell penned bonus track "Colors Of Your Heart" is excellent. CIMARRON was a Grammy-nominated album, and was a high-charting release for over 42 weeks. It represents how Emmylou Harris is an extraordinary artist, lightyears ahead of the rest of the music business in talent, creativity, and intelligence. Be sure to check out the equally outstanding reissue of the classic LAST DATE. Hopefully Eminent will also apply their terrific reissue format to EVANGELINE and THIRTEEN, to give those incredible releases a CD hearing."
What else can we say but that she has a voice of an angel?
29-year old wallflower | West Lafayette, IN | 07/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A lot of people are lamenting the sorry state of country music today, with it making more and more concessions to popular tastes. While I admit to being one of those naysayers, I go for country music that takes risks, but still has enough twang to truly be called country. And sure enough, Emmylou Harris can best be called one of the first country artists to venture outside the confines of the genre, and still be accepted as one of country's own. A protege of the legendary country-rock godfather Gram Parsons, Emmylou has been bringing her distinctive style to just about every song from country to folk to straightahead rock. Thanks to that, some of the most unlikely songs have become country standards in spite of their non-country pedigrees. By 1981's CIMARRON, Emmylou had been making music for well over a decade (although her first album PIECES OF THE SKY was released in 1975). As a hitmaker, her days were coming to an end, but as an innovator, she hadn't yet begun to quit. Emmylou can take even the most well-worn country standards, and make them sound as if they were written yesterday like that old warhorse "Tennessee Waltz", a short 2:30 song in an album filled with numerous 4-minute tunes (which is near-epic-length for country music). I'm sure every country singer worth their salt has attempted "Tennesee Waltz" at one time or another, but Emmylou does what she has done numerous times before, making it sound like it was written for her all along. Other country greats given a new lease on life by Emmylou include "The Last Cheater's Waltz" (originally a hit for T.G. Sheppard), which is a much longer version so as to showcase the excellent musicianship of her band, "Son Of A Rotten Gambler" (written by Chip Taylor, who also penned such disparate ditties as "Wild Thing" and "Angel Of The Morning"), and the traditional "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue". But to prove that Emmylou was more risk-taking than her fellow country-ites, CIMARRON has its share of more modern, contemporary numbers. "Rose Of Cimarron" was originally a hit song for the country-rock band Poco; "If I Needed You" (a duet with country great Don Williams) was written by legendary folk singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt; "The Price You Pay" originally appeared on Bruce Springsteen's double album THE RIVER (1980). All of these are given enough country sound to make one forget the fact they were written by people far from the country radar as possible. The other songs on CIMARRON were probably written especially for the album: "Another Lonely Morning" is a great song just looking for someone to cover it (even if it may not be better than Emmylou's); "Born To Run" (NOT the Bruce Springsteen classic) was written by Paul Kennerley, who would later become Emmylou's third husband; "Tennessee Rose" was written by Emmylou band member Hank DeVito. With all those wonderful songs, CIMARRON was a wonderful album already, but because it has been released on CD for the very first time, the deal is made even sweeter with the inclusion of a rare song called "Colors Of Your Heart", written by former Emmylou bandmate Rodney Crowell. While he had long went solo from her, this song proves why Crowell is one of Emmylou's favorite songwriters, and also a fellow "modern traditionalist" like her. After CIMARRON would come the live album LAST DATE, which was unique in the fact that it contained songs Emmylou had not yet recorded in the studio. Unfortunately, that would be her last truly successful album on the charts. But that allowed Emmylou to experiment even more with her music, resulting in such uncategorizable masterpieces like WRECKING BALL (1995) and RED DIRT GIRL (2000). For those who were introduced to Emmylou Harris courtesy of those classics, earlier albums like CIMARRON will help show that she's had it in her for more than 3 decades, and hopefully, is not thinking of slowing down any time soon."
An important album
Sleepy Bumpkin | east of those Shenandoah hills | 05/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite many fans' views to the contrary, Cimarron is actually a wonderful album and ultimately more satisfying than Evangeline, also released in 1981. It's true that Emmylou doesn't take many risks here musically, but her interpretive skills are such that she can work wonders even with mainstream material. (Mainstream doesn't always equal mediocre, after all.) Take "Tennessee Rose," for instance. It's a good song, but not great. Just about any Nashville flash-in-the-pan could have recorded it, made a listenable version, maybe even had a hit with it. But Emmylou raised it up into something astonishing, almost magnificent. While equally impressive, most of the other songs are somewhat less warmhearted, less gentle on the mind, as it were. There is an austere character to the album, a sense of loneliness and loss and bleak landscapes, that is stunning to witness--maybe that's why some people don't like it! The thing is, though, it's real. There's nothing affected here, nothing glossed over because it's difficult. The title track tells of desolation and "campfires cold and dark now." A gorgeous (if strangely bowdlerized) version of "Spanish Is a Loving Tongue" addresses the quiet grief of life going on after an impossible relationship ends. Emmylou's cover of the Bruce Springsteen song "The Price You Pay" speaks to the inevitability of trouble in a harsh world. Ah, but if all that sounds like too much to take, cue up track three where Emmylou joins Don Williams in their hit duet of "I Needed You" by Townes Van Zandt. That song is all about reassurance and trust and hope, and it does an excellent job of counteracting the emotional carnage of the other tracks. The engineering on the album is particularly good, and the musicians, a mix of Hot Band members and session pickers, are beyond reproach. This is an important album whose reputation will probably improve as the years roll by. Roll on, Rose of Cimarron!"