Thursday, December 4, 2008

3 Hard-to-Find Albums You'll Wish You Had Someday

The Lonelies - The Lonelies EP

This album is one of the early releases from songwriter extraordinaire Doug Burr. Doug has a couple of solo albums under his belt currently that are absolute pure gold in terms of quality, musicianship and substance. (I hope to provide a write-up of his upcoming release, The Shawl, in the next few months after I've had the chance to listen to it.
But back to the Lonelies, this EP exhibits some of Burr's older work, demonstrating that he has trouble touching/writing a song that doesn't turn to gold. "Carolina" may be the standout from this EP that I always come back to, although "Curse the Weatherman" runs a close second, and is sure to get stuck in your head. This EP was not widely distributed and is so rare it is not even available online. In fact, I even had some difficulty finding a picture of the cover. Probably a DFW area used record store is about your only hope for finding it these days. And while you're at it, keep an eye out for Doug's even more obscure pre-Lonelies solo release, Pokerface and for the Lonelies sophomore EP Democracy, Whiskey, & Sexy!

Obscurity Level: High
Obscurity Level for Pokerface: I'd like to shake your hand if you can find a copy of this album.

Eleven Hundred Springs - A Straighter Line

This acoustic album from another DFW area artist stands in mind as maybe the most fulfilling listen in the entire EHS discography. I don't know how many of these songs remain a part of the playlist on their live shows, but the album itself never really has a misstep. The lineup for the band has changed a good bit since this album, and thus, this may be the reason it is not still in print or available for digital download. Nonetheless, this album has a number of amazing songs including "Sad and Lonesome Song," "See You in the Next Life," and my personal favorite "Good Times, Hard Livin." Only "See You in the Next Life" has appeared on any subsequent EHS release, and thus, A Straighter Line remains the only way to hear the other two. This album sticks strongly to the band's country sound, but it is not strictly a honky-tonk record by any measure. This album also stands as the band's best lyrical quality in their catalogue.

Obscurity Level: Moderate

The V-Roys - All About Town

Looking back on the glory days of 90s alt country, the V-Roys have largely been forgotten. The band's frontman Scott Miller has continued with his solo career since the demise of the V-Roys, and in that time, his former band has largely fallen off the map. The mid to late 90s were a golden period of sorts for alt country, as it was gaining momentum, and was still composed of a relatively small scene. All About Town contains possibly some of the best songs from that era, including "Fade Away," "Testify," and "Hold on to Me." Luckily, the popularity of this band in the 90s led to a fairly wide distribution of the album, although I the CD is out of print and I don't believe it has been made available for digital download. Used copies are not too difficult to obtain at this point, although 5 years from now this may no longer be the case.

Obscurity Level: Low to Moderate