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Billy Joe Shaver - The Storyteller: Live at the Bluebird 1992

The Storyteller:
Live at the Bluebird 1992

Billy Joe Shaver

Sugar Hill Records - SUG CD 4030

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

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This is one of those evenings when you just kick yourself because you weren't there (even though you weren't in that town at that time), for the music, the banter, and the intimacy of it all. This is just Billy Joe singing, telling the stories behind the songs and playing acoustic guitar, with his son Eddy Shaver, and his amazing lead work on acoustic guitar, and with Keith Christopher on acoustic guitar and acoustic bass; with Billy Joe's ex-wife and bunch of friends in the audience. It is a close venue and sitting in the second row was Todd Snyder, good thing because Todd was coerced into writing the liner notes in his inimitable style. The great thing about this is you get the stories behind some of the songs as told by this master storyteller in a way particular to him. There is a raw passion that pervades everything that this man does, from his songs to his stories. He builds them slowly and just when you thing you've got it there is another line that you should have seen coming, and it just seals the deal. Listen to his fantastic Old Chunk of Coal, and, well, for the few of you that don't know the song, just give this gem a listen and feel the honest intensity that comes through in his lyrics.

There is a shearing, burning passion in this man that strips his soul naked on the stage so that his demons can rest, so he can go on with life. I don't know I'm not sure why, but the pain that went into the songs comes through and he seems to radiate a love that is on a cutting edge. There is a quality here that lets you know that the songs are the absolute god honest truth, and even if they aren't, they sure seem like they are. They are his truth and he is kind enough to share it with us. As he says in You Asked Me To "…simple love is simple truth." Thank you Billy Joe Shaver.

Track List:

  • Georgia on a Fast Train
  • Willy the Wandering Gypsy and Me
  • Honky Tonk Heroes
  • Black Rose
  • Talk: My Ex-Wife Brenda
  • Amtrak (Ain't Comin' Back)
  • Talk: Surgery/NYC
  • The Cowboy Who Started the Fight
  • Talk: I Forget
  • Old Chunk of Coal
  • Moonshine and Indian Blood
  • Highway of Life
  • Live Forever
  • You Asked Me To

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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