Aloha and welcome back to Found Sound
:: This week highlight – West – West (1968) ::
Im back on the trail again with the Allah-Las this month. This time we’re traveling through South Africa, France, Belgium and The Netherlands. Hoping to find some new records on the way to share with you.
I had searched for a copy of West – West for years before finding it. True to form, Darren Rademaker from The Tyde introduced me to this Byrd-sy batch of covers at one of his famous pool parties up Micheltorena street in Silver Lake, California. I had forgotten about it until I ironically came across a copy of while traveling the furthest east I had ever been at the time in Athens, Greece.
West – West was cut in Nashville in 1967 with the guiding light of producer Bob Johnston (Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel). The band consisted of a variety of session musicians and members of other projects from the mid – ’60s. Front man and lead vocalist, Ron Cornelius, played lead guitar on a number of sessions for Bob Dylan, Marty Robbin and later Leonard Cohen. Michael Stewart, former member of the We Five adds rhythm guitar and peppers the album with banjo, dulcimer and the occasional flute. With the Gene Clark era chorus, “I need to love her all the time, she’s on my mind,” the catchy “Summer Flowers” stand out as the most memorable original cut on the record, but what makes West – West worth a listen is its ability to repackage some familiar western tunes in a fresh and timeless way with janglily guitars and rich harmonies like some lost Byrds rarity.
“I started out on burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff” is the classic line from “Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues,” the first and strongest track on the record. A lovely Dylan rendition which undoubtable encouraged Epic Records to release the album after the single reached #17 on the national charts. West recorded a second and final record, Bridges, in 1969 which picks up where the debut left off supplying more beautiful soft melancholy country/folk originals like “Sad About The Times” and the evocative western soundtrack instrumental “Funeral On The Beach.” After their sophomore record Michael Stewart joined his brother, John Stewart, in resurrecting the We Five, while Ron Cornelius found fame by helping assemble a band for Leonard Cohen, playing guitar on some of his best records including Songs from a Room and Songs of Love and Hate. All of which are recommended listening by the Found Sound camp. Enjoy!
FOUND SOUND is curated by Matthew Correia.