Bill Staines - The First Million Miles, Vol. 2

The First Million Miles,
Vol. 2

Bill Staines

(ROUN 11580)

Rounder Records
One Camp Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music
by Moshe Benarroch

When I think about the words "instant classic" one of the first names that comes to my mind is Bill Staines. So, What does the oxymoron "instant classic" means? It means that after listening to a Staines song you go back and forth to the booklet to see if he REALLY wrote that song or if it is traditional. It means that after listening to any of his albums twice it seems you have always lived with his songs and that you will live with them forever.

As the title indicates this CD is a sort of "Best Of." It is 66 minutes long, has 19 songs, and spans the years 1980 to 1997. I can hardly see any differences between the years; it seems that Staines has been in the "grove" since he was born. There are 8 songs from Redbird's Wing (out of ten in the whole album), 4 from Rodeo Rose, 4 from Wild Wild Heart, 1 from One More Thing, and 2 from the very hard to find Sandstone Cathedrals.

The music of Staines is pure folk, without any "new", "alternative", or other tag added to it. Although he performs with 3 to 10 players in some songs, still what you hear mostly is his voice and his guitar. He sings songs about hoboes, wandering, love and The Shores of Prudhoe Bay. His music is remindful of Dave Mallet, early Gordon Lightfoot, early James Taylor, Chuck Pyle and Bob Franke.

In Lover's and Losers he sings:

Lovers and losers
dreamers and boozers
pickers and poets in the rain
I long to hear them
and I'll linger them
for I have seen their faces
and I have known their names...

This CD, as well as Vol. 1, or even better both, is a great introduction to one of the most consistent singer-songwriters from the last 20 years.


Bill Staines, acoustic guitar, vocals / Paul Socolow, bass / Tim Jackson, drums / Bobby Keyes, electric guitar / Larry Luddecke, piano / John Curtis, electric guitar, banjo / Jonathan Helfand, pedal steel / Jonathan Edwards, Mason Daring, background vocals.

Song List:

  • Rodeo Rose
  • Only A Song
  • January Snow
  • Sunny Road
  • Redbird's Wing
  • The Shores of Prudhoe Bay
  • Bird In the Wind
  • Border Blues
  • Sunshine Islands
  • First Lullabye
  • Sweet, Sunny South
  • Heart Alone
  • Northland
  • Gambler's Game
  • Stone Face
  • Coyote
  • Last Margarita in Monterey
  • Lovers and Losers
  • Spirit Song

[Edited by: Paula Gregorowicz]

Copyright 1999, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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