Wow! Carla Bozulich of the Geraldine Fibbers covering Willie Nelson's _Red Headed Stranger_ with the man himself singing and playing guitar on a couple of tracks. I remember listening to the Geraldine Fibbers and wishing they'd do something more country, but this just blows my mind. Bozulich's singing is a gorgeous and sometime disturbing combination of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton (who made some great recordings back in the day). The arrangements are fantastic. The band which contains members of the Scott Amendola band does not shy away from the jazz influence which I think is central to Willie's music.
The songs themselves vary from very traditional country songs (1, 4,10,12) to vocal jazz (11) to spooky droning experimental pieces (3,5,7). While some of the songs go pretty far a field, everything here remains true to the folk music tradition. Best album I've heard in a while, you can play anything off of here.
Play with 16 Horsepower, Neko Case, Nina Nastasia, Ray’s Vast Basement, Handsome Family, Anthology of American Folk Music
1. Sweet traditional reading of “Time of the Preacher”. Pretty spare, begins with just Carla and guitars.
2. Twangy, bouncy upbeat story of betrayal.
3. Droning and disturbing version of 1, brilliantly unnerving, lyrics continue the story started in 1 with a murder
4. Gorgeous and heart-breaking! Beautiful steel guitar. New way to love this song!
5. Long (10:45) track. Draggy, spooky atmospheric noises. Deep chanting vocals. Gothic, but very much in the American folk music tradition. Overpowering.
6. Short (:32) repetition of Time of the Preacher, goes into 7
7. Instrumental. Spare and spooky, weird treated guitar, builds in intensity
8. Weird intro: Carla’s voice barely over disjointed din; then an ordinary country song; then Carla singing wordlessly to carnival song
9. Short (1:12), disjointed instrumental picking up from 8
10. Traditional reading. Gorgeous duet with Willie. Airy with pedal steel and droning violin
11. Spare with jazz guitar, very reminiscent of “Round Midnight”. Vocals remind me of a vengeful Billie Holiday
12. Duet between Willie and Carla. Sad and sweet vocals.
13. Spacey experimental jazz feel behind guitar-picking, instrumental until it repeats "Time of the Preacher" theme at -1:00.