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Broke Down


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Audio CD, January 25, 2000
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 25, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: January 25, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philo / Umgd
  • ASIN: B000044U3T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,069 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Broke Down
2. One Good Year
3. Horshoe Lounge
4. Cold And Lonely
5. Breakfast In Hell
6. Bring It On
7. Lydia
8. This Morning I Am Born Again
9. Key Chain
10. I Feel The Blues Moving In

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

On his second Philo release, singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves builds a bridge between New England, where he grew up, and Texas, where he now lives. Cleaves's voice often affects a yearning quality reminiscent of traditional Irish music, and his songs are populated by the sort of tragic characters familiar to old folk ballads. In "Cold and Lonely," a poor farmer grieves for his dead wife and children, while the narrative "Breakfast in Hell" is a Canadian logger's answer to "John Henry." The suffering takes a more personal turn in "One Good Year," where Cleaves laments, "It's a bitter wind, in your face every day / It's the little sins, that wear your soul away." But just when the downcast mood begins to grow oppressive, Cleaves comes back with the defiant "Bring It On" and the redemptive "This Morning I Am Born Again," featuring Woody Guthrie's amazing lyrics set to new music. Austin-based producer Gurf Morlix , known for his long association with Lucinda Williams, contributes spare and evocative instrumental textures. --Rick Mitchell

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 43 customer reviews
Anyone who hears him once will be a fan for life.
becky ralls
The melodies are memorable and individual, the lyrics cut right to the heart of his subjects, and his voice gently compels you to listen.
Larry L. Looney
One regret - wish there were a few more songs on the CD.
A Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I was lured to a Slaid Cleaves show by a friend here in Philly and walked away with three CD's. He was that impressive. In the best folk tradition, he weaves tales of the down trodden with tales of hope in a rich voice that never comes across as preachy or weak-kneed. Like John Prine or maybe Steve Earle, Slaid knows how to sing about real people and places ("Horse Shoe Lounge" and "Lydia") and of the larger than life tales that make such myths worth hearing again and again ("Breakfast In Hell").
I saw him again this summer at the Newport Folk Festival and he was darn near the best player on the side stage. His reworking of Woody Guthrie's "This Morning I was Born Again" puts most of the "alt-country" crowd to shame. He also understands musical economics. Ten selections, and not one of them a filler. (Are you listening Ryan Adams?) I have played "One Good Year" several times when I feel down, and it never fails to give me a surge of willpower. I can't recommend Slaid Cleaves and "Broke Down" enough, and especially if he's playing near enough to your town to get into a show.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By JoAnne on February 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Slaid Cleaves' new album is a terrific contribution from this talented singer/songwriter! My personal favorite on it is "Key Chain," an interesting evolution from his earlier car songs. Here, the car key represents the last piece of the narrator's old life and the first piece of his new one. He may be "broke down," like other characters on the album, but he's picking up the pieces and starting all over again. I also loved the setting to new music of Woodie Guthrie's lyrics in "This Morning I am Born Again."
The great Gurf Morlix and the other musicians add texture to this album, as well. This album is well worth adding to your collection.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Malloy on January 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
As a long time follower of Slaid's I have to say this is just an INCREDIBLE record. It certainly may prove to be his best. Although 2000 may have just begun, this one's gonna be tough to beat. Slaid's voice resonates so deeply on this record it is simply stunning. The writing is among his best and the songs are immediately timeless. Slaid is much more than an excellent singer/songwriter, he is an IMPORTANT artist that needs to be supported. Just amazing.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Buy this CD. I buy most CDs in this category, as they are released. This is by far one of the best CDs I have heard. If you liked Uncle Tupelo, the earlier Wilco and Sun Volt, the Mermaid Avenue CD, or Steve Earle - you will like this one. Excellent songs. Excellent production quality. A little Woodie Guthrie and Del McCoury thrown in for good measure. One regret - wish there were a few more songs on the CD.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Susan McC on May 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This album sneaks up on you. You're taken in by the melodies of "Broke Down," "One Good Year," and "Horseshoe Lounge," but you soon find yourself (after repeated playings) longing to hear "Lydia," "Bring It On," and the witty, humorous "Key Chain" (a necessary addition to the CD given the dark atmosphere of the other songs). Then, when you've enjoyed those tunes repeatedly, you get hooked on "Breakfast in Hell," a great epic verse, and "This Morning I Was Born Again," a superb Woody Guthrie lyric that Cleaves writes great music for. Add to the mix a Del McCoury remake (excellent harmonies), and all of a sudden it hits you that you're listening to ONE GREAT CD! I haven't tired of playing it yet. The only cut I could do without is "Cold and Lonely," which is so utterly without hope that I wonder why Cleaves was intent on placing the song on a CD full of characters who still retain some hope. I do find the melody appealing (in a dark sort of way), but "Cold and Lonely" is the one cut (the ONLY cut!) I don't mind skipping over. All in all, this is a first-rate CD. I'd highly recommend it to any country, folk or bluegrass fans!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Looney on June 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
For several years now, we here in Austin Tx have had a secret treasure -- but we knew that sooner or later Slaid Cleaves would be discovered by the rest of the world. With this, his second cd for Philo, Slaid's incredible talent is being enjoyed by new fans all over the country, thanks to some well-deserved national radio play and to the inevitable word-of--mouth that has followed him around after his fine live performances.
Slaid has been compared to everyone from Hank Williams to Woody Guthrie -- two of his heroes, to be sure -- but he's no one's copycat. The mark of a great songwriter is to take in all of those influences that have touched your soul during your life, refine them, learn from them, and produce your own music, in your own style, speaking from that soul.
Slaid Cleaves has learned well. He has paid his dues for years, singing to audiences in small bars who were, shall we say, not in prime listening condition. His songwriting has grown and matured, as have his voice and his rapport with his audience. The crowds at his shows have gotten bigger and bigger, and he has begun touring more extensively -- his appeal and popularity have steadily increased.
The songs on this cd, mostly his own, show a depth of vision and an understanding of life that are hard to come by for someone twice his age. The melodies are memorable and individual, the lyrics cut right to the heart of his subjects, and his voice gently compels you to listen.
Many of these songs are dark -- he'll be the first one to joke about that -- but there are lots of dark times in people's lives. Slaid's songs are not without hope -- they speak of perseverance in the face of an endless string of tragedies, of the hope to be found in making a new start in a troubled life, of never saying 'die'.
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