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Willis Alan Ramsey: Willis Alan Ramsey CD Track Listing

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Willis Alan Ramsey Willis Alan Ramsey (1972)
Originally Released 1972\nDCC CD Edition Released January 24, 1990\nKoch Records CD Edition Released July 20, 1999\n\nAMG EXPERT REVIEW: In many ways, Willis Alan Ramsey's debut album makes him sound like the archetypical Texas singer/songwriter; there's more than a little Guy Clark in his approach, a healthy dose of Townes Van Zandt, a dash of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and one can hear the echoes of what Steve Earle and Lyle Lovett would draw from this music. But Ramsey's style -- an engaging mixture of cowboy poetry, post-hippie wit and wonder, and singer/songwriter introspection -- burst forth fully formed in 1972, while Van Zandt was still barely a rumor outside the Lone Star State, and Clark had yet to make himself heard on vinyl; Ramsey was at once a contemporary of the first wave of Texas songwriters, and one of the artists who blazed the trail for what would become one of the most fruitful tributaries of American roots music. While a number of artists covered material from Willis Alan Ramsey (the Captain and Tennille most famously with "Muskrat Candlelight" -- retitled "Muskrat Love" -- though Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, and even Jimmy Buffett faired better creatively), one listen to the album is enough to convince anyone Ramsey was as much a performer as a songwriter. The bluesy drawl and frayed edges of Ramsey's voice convey a road-worn maturity that betrayed his youth (he was in his early twenties when he cut these sessions), and his production (in collaboration with Denny Cordell) is remarkably intelligent and imaginative for someone with so little experience in the studio. From the tragic road story of "The Ballad of Spider John," the weary nostalgia of "Goodbye to Old Missoula," and the Woody Guthrie tribute of "Boy From Oklahome" to the horny twang of "Geraldine and the Honeybee" and the goofy music-biz meditation of "Satin Sheets," Ramsey hardly makes a false move or a poorly considered gesture through the course of the album's 40 minutes. Part of the mystique that has sprung up around Willis Alan Ramsey's debut album is that he dropped from sight after recording it (due to differences with his record company and a lack of enthusiasm for the realities of the music business), and has yet to release a follow-up; while it's hard to imagine anyone whose heard it not hoping there's more where this came from, if your recording career was to be contained in a single album, you'd be very fortunate if it were as good as Willis Alan Ramsey. -- Mark Deming\n\nAmazon.com Editorial Review\nA landmark of the progressive country movement, with some of the sweetest, most memorable songs of the '70s, this album has both a rough and silky warmth, distinguished by Ramsey's bass, guitar, and harmonica work, and by his great patience and musical care. As good as the songs are, Ramsey's country-soul voice, owing more to his Alabama roots than to Texas, is even finer. And even if you've never heard of him, you'll recognize his compositions. "Muskrat Candlelight" is notorious, and if that song makes you wary, it shouldn't. Ramsey's version has a soulful glide and captures an elusive romantic tone. David Bromberg recorded "Northeast Texas Women" and Jerry Jeff Walker covered "Ballad of Spider John," but the mythic air of Ramsey's originals--especially "Boy From Oklahoma," the best song ever written about Woody Guthrie--has never been equaled. Unfortunately, the reticent, demanding Ramsey never found that groove again, and while rumors of a follow-up have circulated for decades, his exquisite debut is all we have. --Roy Kasten\n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nUndeniably Great, June 29, 2007 \nBy Robert D. Westcott (Calgary, Canada)\nI ended up finding this album by one of those long convoluted chain of searches that the internet is so good fo. I am not a country music fan by any stretch of the imagination. The reviews of this album are so overwhelmingly positive that I gave in and added it to my order, just to see what the fuss was about. \n\nThe first time I listened to the album, I was intrigued by it. Not really hard country, not really poppy... a bit bluesy at times... After the third or fourth listen, I realized that I really like the album. It sneaks up on you. \n\nHaving listened to it a dozen times or more, I have to say that this is a solid, solid album. It is the perfect album for being mellow to. It just pulls you down and keeps you there. Once you read the Willis Alan Ramsey story on the web, you have to wonder why the second album never did happen. The modern music industry would've squeezed old Willis like a lemon and gotten a dozen mediocre albums out of him. There would have been a dozen sound alike albums put out to cash in on the craze. Instead, there is just one album, one hand crafted, lovingly done to perfection album. Maybe there was never a second album because he figured he could never top the first. \n\nI don't think anyone that loves music of any sort would be disappointed with this album. It is a fantastic album in all senses of the word. \n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nOne-off soul/country classic, February 28, 2007 \nBy Elliot Knapp (Walla Walla, Washington United States)\n\nSoul/country, you ask? I know, it sounds improbable, but it's true. One his lone, eponymous album, Willis Alan Ramsey combines country subject matter and instrumentation with a smooth, soul-drenched voice that wrings the emotion out of his fantastic original tunes. This is truly one of those lost classics; music made by a man who knows what he's doing and should have made a whole lot more records. \n\nThe album's opener, "Ballad of Spider John," is mellow, but that belies the song's intensity. Ramsey proves an excellent balladeer and his smooth voice achingly tugs the strings of the song's story of a former outlaw whose lover leaves him when she finds out about his dark past. Probably the most recognizable song on the album (unfortunately for Captain and Tenille's lame cover) is "Muskrat Candlelight." When you hear Ramsey sing it, you understand that it's more than just an easy-listening novelty tune. The original version combines humor with a genuine tenderness that lends the song a real legitimacy. \n\nRamsey's beautiful voice doesn't prevent him from bringing his songs a bit of grit though--"Wishbone" and "Watermelon Man" are bluesy and spring with a lot of twang. Ramsey plays a lot of instruments on this album--not only guitar, but bass and lots of background vocals as well. It's surprising how good he is at what he does--it sounds like a live band. \n\nReally what makes this album a lost treasure is its uniqueness. I've never heard a country album that has so much soul blended effortlessly with genuine country sounds--it's nothing like the bland country pop we hear on the radio today, but it's not straight-up country either. The best part is, it's a mellow listen, but better than just background music. If you want an album that's good to chill to, but can also be enjoyed if you're REALLY listening to it, this is a great choice. I guarantee it'll reward on repeated listens, and you'll wonder too why he never made another album. \n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\n"That ONE Willis Alan Album ...", January 24, 2007 \nBy G. S. Kennedy "Steve Kennedy" (Houston, TX, USA)\nOn the album "New Connections", Todd Snider pays tribute to Willis Alan in the song "Vinyl Records". Singing about the many piles of vinyl albums sitting on his floor, he mentions the "piles and piles" of Tom Petty, and "that ONE Willis Alan album" (check it out with a seach here on Amazon). Many years after the album, I saw Willis Alan open for Lyle Lovett, and somebody asked the inevitable question, "Where is the second album?" He replied, "You know, there for a while, I thought I WAS working on a second album. Not that any major label shared that opinion ..." Major labels, like the one who turned down the Beatles, saying "guitar rock is dead". \n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nThe absolute best CD ever!, April 29, 2003 \nBy "fawltymac" (Reston, VA United States)\n\nMy brother used to play guitar in central/east Texas clubs in the late 70s and he met WAR and immediately became his no. 1 fan. He turned me on to him not too long after and ever since, when someone asks me for a recommendation, I immediately think of WAR. His storytelling is unique, his voice sounds far more mature than his years and his sense of humor is outrageous--Northeast Texas Women is a good example. Spider John is about a guy who gave him a lift when he was hitchiking to Dallas one time and he listened to the guy talk. While the guy is somewhat more benign than the song implies, WAR made up a whole scenario about his life based on a few things the guy said. And I could go on and on and on...talk about a singer/songwriter.\nJust this past weekend, while listening to NPR's American Roots, the teaser for the next segment came on as I was about to get out of the car. Lo and behold, the announcer told me to stay tuned for a rare interview with Willis Alan Ramsey, so of course I settled back to listen. After living all over central and northeast Texas, he has settled in Wimberley, a very small town southwest of Austin. When asked why only one album, he explained that he was only 21 or 22 when the first came out and the attention was too overwhelming, which made him resist ever getting in that situation again. Finally, at around 50 (?), he's way more comfortable w/ himself and has begun to write and perform again. In fact, he's working on a second album. So, all you WAR fans, keep your eyes peeled for that release (late this year, early next--I think?). \n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\ntotally fat, October 6, 1999 \nBy A Customer\nIf you lived in the San Francisco Bay area during the '70s, you might have listened to these songs on the mighty KFAT, the greatest radio station on the planet. Just as KFAT was happy to mix, say, John Coltrane and Johnny Cash, this album mixes a bit of just about everything. Sure, it's country...using guitar and cello (Angel Eyes) or soprano sax and accordion (Ballad of Spider John). Every cut is good, even that sappy thing that America recorded, and every one is unique. I am so gassed that this is back in print.\n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nA reluctant messiah among songwriters., September 30, 1999 \nBy H. Johnson "Hal Johnson" (Bella Vista, CA USA)\nNearly three decades after it was first released, it's a little ironic to recall that this recording, now a word-of-mouth legend, was initially considered a commercial flop.\nWillis Alan Ramsey's start as a recording artist came about a little unusually. After being snubbed by James Taylor's producer, Ramsey approached Leon Russell at his motel, following Russell's appearance in Austin with the Allmann Brothers. After listening to Ramsey, Russell invited him to California for another audition. The album that followed, recorded at various locations across the country, took a year to complete. While Russell's Shelter Records was widely considered a haven for those artists alienated by the big labels, Ramsey still reportedly felt that the process of making the album came at the expense of too many artistic compromises. To him, the music business was simply too much about business and not enough about music, even within the relatively loose constraints of "America's answer to Apple Records."\n\nWhile many "insiders" blamed Shelter Records for failing to support Ramsey's debut album, the surprising truth was that Ramsey himself asked Shelter not to promote it. In an interview with Jan Reid, a journalist for Texas Monthly magazine (and author of "The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock," a fascinating account of the rise of the progressive country scene of the time), Ramsey said: "I just don't like advertisement. I don't like somebody to feel like they've got to shove something down my throat before I'll find out about it. Because I know that people who listen to records as much as I do will gradually hear one if it's any good. Let it stand the test of time."\n\nWords to choke on, perhaps, for a zealous capitalist, but I'd wager that most would agree that this recording has indeed stood the test of time. It's doubtful that Willis Alan Ramsey-a man who couldn't tolerate the oppressive influence of managers, agents, and journalists-will ever be a household name, act in a movie, or make big bucks off of beer commercials. He might never release another recording. That's regrettable, I suppose. Ultimately, though, we should forget the regret and rejoice that this treasure of a recording is available again. It endures as a gift from the soul of a remarkable artist, a man who refused to allow himself to be molded into a commodity. In the prophetic words of Mr. Ramsey himself, "Let it stand the test of time." \n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nHe said what he had to say and that was enough., August 27, 1999 \nBy joe.totten@dsw.com (Park City, Utah)\nHe didn't run away and he didn't die. Willis Alan Ramsey hid in plain site in Austin, Texas for most of the 70's and 80's. Every once in awhile he's play a local club or a benefit. But for the most part he stayed out of the music business. Once in an interview he was asked when his next album would be released. He replied: "What was wrong with the first one?" \n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nA blast from the past that still works!, August 2, 1999 \nBy WK (Houston, Texas)\nIt is a staement of a song writer's continuing musical importance when a reissue of a long-dead album is prompted by a demand generated by artists covering the song writer's material. You know Ramsey's songs if you are a true fan of Lyle Lovett, Jimmy Buffet, Shawn Colvin, Roger McGuinn, the Captin and Tenille, or the Austin country music scene. Ramsey fans have been waiting for this reissue for over twenty-five years. You'll understand why Buffet on his box set told listeners to let him know if Ramsey does anything else. \n\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nPerhaps THE essential work of the 70's Austin scene., June 30, 1999 \nBy H. Johnson "Hal Johnson" (Bella Vista, CA USA)\nBefore Lyle Lovett released "Step Inside This House," the only brushes with the work of Willis Alan Ramsey most folks had were via The Captain and Tennille's version of "Muskrat Love," or perhaps Jimmy Buffett's cover of "The Ballad of Spider John." Thanks to the release of "Step Inside This House," apparently enough interest has arisen to prompt the re-release of Willis Alan Ramsey's self-titled album. Originally released in the 70's, this album made a huge splash with fans of the Austin-based music scene of that period. However, Ramsey chafed under the constraints of the music business-even within the relatively loose bounds of Shelter Records-and to the best of my knowledge, he never released another recording. (Until Lovett's "Step Inside This House," I wondered if he'd died.)\nAn interviewer once asked Clint Black-respected as a songwriter in spite of his place in "Commercial Country"-what five albums he'd want with him on a desert island. He reportedly rattled off a mixed list of country and rock artists, and then, as an afterthought, named one more: "Willis Alan Ramsey." This recording truly is a treasure. Listen to it, and you'll find that, like a well-loved piece of antique furniture, it gets better with time. (If the world is a just place, we'll next see a re-release of a Steve Fromholz recording.) \n\n\nHalf.com Details \nContributing artists: Leon Russell \n\nAlbum Notes\nPersonnel: Willis Alan Ramsey (vocals, guitar, harmonica, bass); Cahrles Perrino (guitar, background vocals); Robert Aberg (guitar, slide guitar); Eddie Hinton (guitar); Red Rhodes (pedal steel guitar); Dusty Rhodes, Tim Self (fiddle); Cathy Pruit (cello); Nick De Caro (accordion); Ernie Watts (saxophone); Leon Russell (piano, electric piano, \nvibraphone); Carl Radle, Tim Drummond, Leland Sklar (bass); Walter Collie (drums, background vocals0: Jim Keltner, Kenneth Buttrey, Russ Kunkel (drums).\n\nProducers: Denny Cordell, Willis Alan Ramsey.\nReissue producer: John Porter.\nRecorded in 1971 & 1972.
This country cd contains 11 tracks and runs 40min 3sec.
Freedb: 7809610b

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  1. Willis Alan Ramsey - Ballad Of Spider John (04:18)
  2. Willis Alan Ramsey - Muskrat Love (Muskrat Candlelight) (03:23)
  3. Willis Alan Ramsey - Geraldine And The Honeybee (02:19)
  4. Willis Alan Ramsey - Wishbone (02:46)
  5. Willis Alan Ramsey - Satin Sheets (02:39)
  6. Willis Alan Ramsey - Goodbye Old Missoula (05:03)
  7. Willis Alan Ramsey - Painted Lady (03:06)
  8. Willis Alan Ramsey - Watermelon Man (03:26)
  9. Willis Alan Ramsey - Boy From Oklahoma (03:54)
  10. Willis Alan Ramsey - Angel Eyes (03:11)
  11. Willis Alan Ramsey - Northeast Texas Women (05:51)


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