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Terry Allen - Best of the Sugar Hill Years

Best of
The Sugar Hill Years

Terry Allen

Sugar Hill Records - SUG CD 4037

Available from Sugar Hill Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

This artist was alt-country many years before there was such a phrase, and he and his Lubbock cohorts, such as Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, will probably argue with Willie, Waylon and the boys, as to who started the whole outlaw movement. This disc shows off the wide variety of this man's songwriting and musical abilities. This is truly a disc that lives up to its "Best of" title as his best-known songs are here. Of course, some will argue over personal favorites, but this is a true sampling of his music over the years. Though his music definitely is Country his audience tends to be a far more progressive and open-minded bunch. This may come as a result of his not confining himself to one media.

This multimedia artist is a whirlwind of projects and only some of them are music, he is the winner of 3 National Endowment for the Arts grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is very involved in sculpture and film making. His works are exhibited in art galleries around the country.

This Best of is drawn from 6 discs on Sugar Hill and has a true panoply of mavericks helping him out; people such as Joe Ely, Richard Bowden, Lloyd Maines, Lucinda Williams and Jesse Taylor to name but a few. Allen wrote most of the songs, sometimes collaborating with the likes of Guy Clark, or David Byrne. They range from flat out boogie of New Delhi Freight Train (made popular by Little Feat), Gimme A Ride To Heaven, and Amarillo Highway, to the quiet wind swept What of Alicia. There are touching stories that celebrate many facets of life, love and the unlimited human spirit. His music is constrained, as is his art, only by the limits of imagination, and his seems to be as open, uncontained, and boundless as those wind-whipped plains of his birthplace, where if you put a stake down in this place today, it is going to far over yonder after the winds have their fun with it.

Track List:

  • Amarillo Highway
  • What of Alicia
  • Helena Montana
  • Gimme a Ride to Heaven Boy
  • Truckload of Art
  • X-Mas on the Isthmus
  • New Delhi Freight Train
  • Flatland Boogie
  • The Doll
  • Red Bird
  • Peggy Legg
  • Wilderness of this World
  • The Beautiful Waitress
  • Give Me the Flowers
  • Cortez Sail
  • Oh Hally Lou
Compilation produced by Stephen Brower

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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