There is a whole lot of early Kris Kristofferson in the songs on Chris Knight's The Trailer Tapes. There is also a bit of Steve Young and Guy Clark and Robert Earl Keen because this guy, like those mentioned, knows how to write! One listen to Rita's Only Fault proves that, as if anyone in their right musical mind could listen to it only once. I never knew Rita, but I knew of her. Every town had one when I was young, the attractive lady tied to a worthless drunk until she couldn't take it anymore and then the head shaking took on new dimension at the Ladies' Church Circle.
If you want production, you won't get it here. The sound is as sparse as the music is real. It is simple acoustic guitar and voice, but you don't need any more than that. Not here.
Knight puts up ten wheatfield and backwoods classics here besides Rita's Only Fault, and I don't use "classic" loosely. I have been listening only a few weeks and already his songs are pushing aside the older, tried and true in my mind. Perhaps it is the sincerity which he serves up in abundance, or the deep love he obviously has for his wordsongs, but his songs sink deep and won't leave.
When I was in the Army in '70, one of my buddies headed to Florida on leave and returned with two albums. Tossing them on my bunk, he said, "These are two of the best albums you'll ever hear." One was the Allman Brothers Band's first album. The other was Steve Young's Rock Salt & Nails. I never really got the chance to thank him for the tips, partially because I did not know then how right he was. If I knew where he was, I'd thank him by tossing Chris Knight's The Trailer Tapes to him and saying "ditto."
If this review seems short and of little substance, it is because my words pale alongside the music on this CD.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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