Imagine, if you will, driving through East Texas heading eastbound on I-10. You are almost in Louisiana and the car starts to sputter. It’s just after midnight and there isn’t another car or filling station at night and wouldn’t you know it your cell phone has no signal at all. You think to yourself “Can you hear me now…” and start wandering down the road looking for a signal, a pay phone, a gas station, another human being, or anything except what you are doing right at this moment. You come upon a side road and down that road you see light peeking around what looks like a bend in the road. You are not sure you want to make the trek down a road that could easily be described as wagon path, and besides that it’s starting to get pretty swampy, but in the end you set off down the side road hoping your boots don’t sink too far into the mud and that whatever is making that noise, that you would swear didn’t come from anything natural, doesn’t catch up with you. As you round a bend in the road you see what looks like a roadhouse. There are a couple of Harleys parked out front, a pickup-truck or three, a neon Pearl Beer sign flickering in the window, and a bug zapper lazily zapping whatever it can. And out of the open door, cutting through the humidity, the heat, and the mosquitoes there floats a dirty guitar groove and a voice full of gravel that gives clues in that it’s A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C).
This is an album full of down and dirty grooves and subtle backbeats and it is a classic Ray Wylie album from start to finish. While I can’t say the Godfather of Texas Country has grown, matured, or is expanding his musical styling I can say that all of that wouldn’t matter one single bit. On this one Ray reaches into his bag of tricks and comes up with a tried and true Ray Wylie’s sound. Pulling from Delta Blues to Texas Country to Bluegrass and piecing it together in a way most men his age couldn’t pull off. I mean how often does a man nearly sixty years old not sound bad singing about making a woman moan? I am here to tell you that Ray Wylie is one of those that can. I can’t think of anything he could sing about and sound wrong. The grooves on this thing definitely make it a candidate for having queued up to end an amorous evening with your lady friend if you know what I mean. It’s the sort of thing that’ll make you leave the windows open in summer’s most heat in coastal Texas just so you can get the sweat mixing in with everything else and need a good shower when you are done.
Of course you probably all think I am insane after that description and you may be right so you’ll just have to decide for yourself. Here’s three tracks to listen to while you slide somewhere to grab this one. Even if you disagree with my suggestions above this one is still a must have if for no other reason than Ray’s rendition of “Drunken Poet’s Dream” is just amazing.
Autopsy IV note: I’m not much of a Ray Wylie Hubbard fan and I flat out fell in love with this album. Essential Listening regardless of which side of the RWH fence you’ve found yourself on in the past.
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Pots and Pans
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Whoop and Hollar
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Every Day Is The Day Of The Dead
Ray Wylie Hubbard Official Website
Wikipedia on Ray Wylie Hubbard
Ray Wylie Hubbard at the Amazon MP3 Store
I am currently working a set of compilations that cover one year in alt country each starting in 1995 and it’s been a real bitch to be honest. But whilst working on that I realized I hadn’t really brought much Texas flavor to the 9B table and so I have decided to fix that starting with this intro. I know I already posted about Ray Wylie Hubbard but looking back that post feels rushed and really doesn’t cover, musically, the depths of the man who is one of the godfathers of country music as we know it, one of the founders of the whole Texas Country/Red Dirt Scene, and someone that many of the artists we cover here on 9B list as influential to their style. Ray Wylie’s career has been as long as it is weird, glorious, and downright good. If you want Ray Wylie’s history, from my perspective, then go check out the previous post but if you want to explore his music, including some gems you may not have heard, then waste no time clicking play on the little cassette tape thingy below!
From whence they came:
– Loco Gringo’s Lament
- Dust of the Chase
- The Real Trick
- Dallas After Midnight
- Choctaw Bingo
– Crusades of the Restless Knights
- Conversation with the Devil
– Dangerous Spirits
- The Last Younger Son
- The Ballad of the Crimson Kings
- Crimson Dragon Tattoo
- Screw You, We’re From Texas
– Lost Train of Thought
- When She Sang Amazing Grace
– Snake Farm
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Official Site
Ray Wylie Hubbard – MySpace
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Wikipedia
Hailed in the press as the elder statesman of Texas music Ray Wylie Hubbard has been pickin’ guitars and writin’ songs for longer than I have been alive. Most of you probably know his work through Jerry Jeff Walker who made Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother famous back in 1973. With fourteen albums under his belt and almost forty years in country music industry Ray Wylie is the real deal. He has lived his music and was a sodden drunk until sometime in 1987 when he credits another Texas great: Stevie Ray Vaughan with convincing him to stop drinking.
I have to admit his first albums have not grown on me even over the years but what could one expect when one of the was named Ray Wylie & The Cowboy Twinkies? In fact almost two decades of his career is mostly lost on me. 1992 marked the release of Lost Train of Thought and that is where I believe Ray Wylie came into his own. Seventeen years and nine albums later Ray still has the stuff he couldn’t find in the 70’s and 80’s. Now I don’t know if he really is an elder statesman of the Texas music scene but I do know that he still tours, still picks his guitar, and still writes amazing music. He just finished an album that’s slated to be released in January as well as having co-written a screenplay that’s said to worthy of Sam Peckinpah. The movie is called The Last Rites of Ransom Pride and stars Dwight Yoakum along with Cote de Pablo of NCIS fame. Along with the soundtrack he wrote all of the music for the movie. For a man his age he’s a busy son of a bitch.
If you ever have the chance to see him live I would highly recommend that you don’t miss it. It won’t be a rowdy show that leaves you draggin’ ass home and it won’t be a sing-along but it will be a show that you won’t likely forget. In case you need a teaser here are some Ray Wylie tracks for your listening pleasure:
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Choctaw Bingo
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Dust of the Chase
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Dallas After Midnight
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Official Site, Ray Wylie Hubbard – MySpace, The Last Rites of Ransom Pride