In the summer of ’71 The Rolling Stones took exile in the South of France in Villa Nellcôte– a 16 room waterfront mansion that once served as Gestapo headquarters for the Nazis during WWII.
The back-drop of geographic beauty, and sweltering heat, sanctuary from UK tax evasion charges and provided a fertile environment to work in the basement studio on their gritty masterpiece; Exile On Main Street.
Among the late-night sessions and day-time partying was a revolving door of model girlfriends, hangers -on and drug dealers. Sure this was just another day in the like Mick and the boys at their peek, but there was something else going on. A newcomer and his wanna-be actress girlfriend (later wife) was playing an endless jukebox of George Jones, The Louvin Brothers and other country classics while jamming with Keith Richards.
Gram Parsons brief period of the Stones history resulted directly in some of the best songs of their catalog. There’s no telling what other influences and excellent work might have resulted if not for a Parsons life-ending mix of heroin and alcohol the next year in Joshua Tree, California
On this 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones I present some their greatest songs that, In my opinion, probably wouldn’t have happened without those musical conversations between Richard’s and Parson’s that led Keef to add to Hank Williams and Lesfty Frizell to his blueprint of music alongside Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters.
If you like your country music steeped in the sound of Bakersfield and honky-tonk that reeks with the aroma of beer and sawdust rathe than hair mousse and celebrity fragrances then San Luis Obispo California’s Red Eye Junction’s second release In The Shadows might be your cup of shine. The ghosts of Lefty Frizzell, Buck Owens and Hank Williams Sr. haunt every groove of this fine release. Featuring songs that appear deceptively simple that on closer listen manifest a musical craftsmanship reverent for music made for Saturday-night sinning and Sunday-morning salvation.
Red Eye Junction features a crackerjack band on this release as led by the Benevolent Dr. Cain (as he is billed) who possesses a high-lonesome keen only at home in country music, and most associated with Bill Monroe, Hank Williams Sr. and Jimmy Dale Gilmour, and Jackpot Jonny Clarke who can pick slicker than a greased pig on a July night.
Tonight is a boot-skootin‘ tunes about good times and good lovin‘. These Five Strings and Gone Again are boudoir bawlers that feature pedal Steel by master Tommy Butler and Talk of the Town and Home Ain’t So Sweet are cheating (and potentially murder) songs featuring Jonny Clarke on slightly gruffed vocals and Greg Clarke’s fine fiddle work. A stand out for me is the title cut, an simmering atmospheric minor-chord lament with Buck Dylan’s midnight train harmonica. Anytownis a rollicking road song praising small town life and Two Part Blue features both Dr. Cain and Jonny Clarke sharing vocals on this light-hearted barroom confessional.
Pick up In The Shadow, crack open a brew and celebrate the enduring spirit of country music.