An essential Steve Earle recording
Rob Bovey | 01/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Earle is an amazing artist with at least half a dozen five-star releases to his name. Deciding which one to review was a tough choice. I picked El Corazón because it demonstrates the breadth of Earle's talent better than any other.Earle has an almost encyclopedic grasp of American musical idioms. El Corazón covers the full breadth of this talent, ranging from the folk of 'Christmas in Washington', the rock of 'N.Y.C.', the bluegrass of 'I Still Carry You Around', the roots-country of 'The Other Side of Town' (a song which could easily pass as a Hank Williams cover), to the beautiful singer-songwriter styling of 'Ft. Worth Blues'.As if the musical talent weren't enough, Steve Earle is one of the finest song writers in the business. Even if you don't agree with the leftist political sentiments he slips into many of his songs (or shovels, in the case of 'Christmas in Washington'), you'll find a depth and intelligence in Earle's lyrics that will surprise you, coming as it does from someone professing to be just a country boy.Buy this CD and listen with an open mind. Pretty soon you'll be back for more."
El Corazon full of heart!
Todd W. Smith | Midway, KY | 01/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Earle got out of prison and drug rehab, and returned in1996 with a brilliant comeback album I Feel Alright. I thought nothing could approach the greatness of that album, but Earle has released another stellar effort in El Corazon. I Feel Alright was a versatile record, but El Corazon is Earle's most diverse work yet. The album opens and closes with folk ballads, Christmas in Washington and Fort Worth Blues. In between , Steve varies from pure rock(NYC,If You Fall),to bluegrass(I Still Carry You Around), to bluesy swing(Telephone Road), and country(The Other Side of Town). Also included is a beautiful duet called Poison Lovers. It's hard to describe this song, other than to say it's artistically creative enough that it's hard to imagine anyone sitting down and writing it. If you love pure music and aren't interested in pigeonholing, you will thoroughly enjoy this incredibly talented musician's work. To say Earle is a gifted singer-songwriter is a massive understatement. This edgy record whets the appetite for what Steve will create in the 21st century and beyond."
Hearts On Fire
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 03/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Steve Earle's fall from grace has been well documented, as was his recovery. I was working as a writer in Nashville when the stories about Earle begging for change outside of clubs were circulating. As the artist behind one of my favorite CD's of all time, "Copperhead Road," it disturbed me that a talent of this magnitude had dropped down so far.
"El Corazon" is the CD that changed that for good. Having gotten the past out of his system on "Train a'Coming" and "I Feel Alright," "El Corazon" finds him at a peak of songwriting, rediscovering his voice and reclaiming country from the world of hat acts. He brings in the Fairfield Four to channel Elvis Presley on "Telephone Road." Emmylou Harris drops in for vocals on "Taneytown." There's some near bluegrass on "The Other Side Of Town." And to top it off, Earle revisits his days as a musical bad boy by bringing in SubPop artists The Supersuckers to grunge up "NYC."
Earle also regains his social voice here. On the songs "Christmas In Washington," "Taneytown" and "Ft Worth Blues," Earle begins the turn into politics that would boil over into controversy once "Jerusalem" and "The Revolution Starts Now" were ultimately released. "Ft Worth Blues" is an eulogy to Towns Van Zandt, and a beautiful closer to the CD. It is, however, on "Christmas In Washington" that Earle measures up to Van Zandt's best work, as well as Woody Guthrie, the song's obvious inspiration. Decrying a nation's capitol where the Democrats sat frozen with fear after the Impeachment hearings were tossed and the Republicans began to overtly plot their revenge, Earle asks why no-one else seems to notice...or for that matter, care. It is such a potent song that even Joan Baez has covered it.
Although some here on Amazon have claimed "Christmas In Washington" is a weak song to lead "El Corazon," I respectfully disagree. It sets the voice of the CD into a troubadour mode, with "Ft Worth Blues" paying the perfect tribute at the end. In between, the stylistic mix shows that Steve Earle had overcome his long odds and recovered his rightful place as a singer and songwriter among the long lost country outlaws. A reminder that the Nashville establishment gave up on authenticity decades ago, "El Corazon" is music with a real heart."