Chris Smither - Don't It Drag On (1972)
It's been a while since my last post, and my sincerest apologies for that. My dad likes to joke that writing about Captain Beefheart took it all out of me. And he's probably right. But, in fact, I'm in the midst of some busy professional things as well as looking forward to my wedding in a month (!) so I've been a bit negligent. But honestly who cares about all that stuff. Let's get back to what matters - some sweet old records.
Until my dad pulled this one out for me, I had not even heard of Chris Smither. And the cover of this thing made me a bit nervous. Naked guy with egregious nipples? And oh! That patterned wallpaper. This was like a nightmare ripped from the pages of a Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story!
But when I started listening, Smither surprised me. The music is rootsy and soulful, clearly exhibiting an appreciation for all kinds of American music, from bluegrass to rockabilly to blues to folk. Smither spent part of his childhood in New Orleans, and he really puts the feel of that city into his cover of Dylan's, Down In the Flood. Maybe it's all the Treme I'm watching, but this is one of my favorite tracks on the record.
[ mp3 ]: Chris Smither - Down in the Flood
The album includes a few other covers; a great version of the Grateful Dead's Friend of the Devil as well as a less-warbly-than-Mick version of the Stone's No Expectations. He's clearly a very accomplished guitarist and thoughtfully reserved vocalist. But he's also a formidable song writer too. The album's closer I Feel the Same highlights all three of these traits, and was actually later recorded by Bonnie Raitt, who provided background vocals on this album. And as I always say, "If your song's good enough to be covered by Bonnie Raitt, you're either a really good song writer or you're James Taylor."
[ mp3 ]: Chris Smither - No Expectations
[ mp3 ]: Chris Smither - I Feel the Same
So if you haven't heard of Chris Smither, this is a great place to jump in. Don't worry! Late summer is the perfect time to GET SMITHERED!