Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop, Rock
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(5 out of 5 stars)
"Originally released in the late 1970's, Jaurez still defies easy categorization. Musically, it's a bit like a bordertown Randy Newman without the didactic cynicism.
If you're familiar with Neil Young's Greendale, this is a concept album of epic scope. Lyrically, it comes off like musical Sam Shepard. It's "characters" easily stumbling out of a drunken Tom Waits ballad. Virtually every song is starkly accompanied by piano & little else. To top it all off, Allen sings like a Redneck suffering from a terminal case of homicidal road rage. His only rival might just be post 13 Floor Elevators Roky Erickson.
To quote the author, "it's a simple story". An awol bluejacket named Sailor & his newfound girl, Spanish Alice are murdered in a bordertown trailer motel. The culprit is a loco pachuco named Jabo. Jabo is accompained by his girlfriend, Chic Blundie--- who may or may not be imaginary. In any case, she has the strange habit of writing poetry on roadside rocks.
All that aside, Jaurez is fraught with beautiful world weary ballads like, "Dogwood", "What of Alicia" & "Honeymoon in Cortez". The lyrics of each, touching on pure poetry in the best sense of the word. If your a fan of Lucinda Williams, you won't be disappointed with, "There Oughta Be A Law Against Sunny Southern California". Lines like, "I leave a few people dead but I got an open road" easily echo Johnny Cash's outlaw mystique but God knows Juarez is not quite Country if even a little Rock & Roll. Who knows what the hell it is other than sheer brilliance. The only thing that may wear on your nerves over time are the spoken word plot intros. Even if they interrupt the flow, they provide enough narrative information to answer any questions that may arise from this complex & compelling album."
Rosalie Arntzen | Valley of the Heart's Delight, CA | 06/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Terry Allen is one of the most interesting, wry, gifted songwriters on the contemporary music scene. Anyone who claims to love music but hasn't listened to Terry Allen's views on Texas, love and getting wise should go sit in the peanut gallery. Not only does he write lyrics that make you think, his music and musicianship are top of the line. Be warned, tho', if you listen to Juarez it will make you want to run out and buy the whole collection of his works. Try Lubbock, too."
Zachary D. Wyatt | Madison, WI USA | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Terry Allen is a gifted story teller who unfortunately never earned much acclaim outside the Lubbock scene, already an outsider's scene itself. This was no doubt due, at least in part, to challenging albums like "Juarez."
This is not the sort of album that becomes an instant favorite. It is compelling but unsettling, and you keep coming back to it, though you aren't sure why. For me, it took at least five listens to really get into and still five more to really get it. But now I am hooked; this is easily one of my Top 10 albums.
Allen outlines the story with a spoken word track and then embellishes with song. "Cortez Sail," which opens the album proper, begins with a lilting piano tune that descends into a dark account of Cortez, before lilting away again. This is followed by "Border Palace," a foot-stomping romp about dive bars and easy women. And in a juxtaposition only Allen would think of, this is followed by "Dogwood," a haunting song about the burdens we bear.
If the beginning is made up of hopeful longing, then the album's midpoint, a trio of dark tunes, is the realization of hopelessness. "Writing on Rocks Across the USA" and "The Radio... And Real Life" reveal the darker side of our characters, with "There Ought to be a Law Against Sunny Southern California" revealing the dark side of their origins.
But the dark story ends on an upbeat, in Mexico. "Cantina Carlotta," successfully evokes the spirit and energy of a Mexican cantina, as does "La Despidida," which makes me want to grab the closest senorita and waltz. The El Camino tracks leaves the listener certain that the preceding tale was an exceedingly happy one, with a happy ending to boot. It's a challenge to remember that a double homicide was perpetrated just minutes before.
"Juarez" is a dark album that requires an effort on the part of the listener. You have to give the characters a chance and hear their story before the complexities of this wonderful album will truly unfold. Beleive me, it's worth the time."