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  • Cowboy Poems Free
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Cowboy Poems Free

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 25, 2000

Editorial Reviews

Original pressing; rare, out of print

1. Texas Dust
2. Poem #1
3. Human Lottery
4. Gray Flannel Suits
5. Poem #2
6. High As Pride
7. American Vacation Tune
8. Swingin' The Ax
9. 1729 Broadway
10. Poem #3
11. 67 Degrees
12. Brittany
13. Poem #4
14. Too Late For Everything

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 25, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Orchard.Com
  • ASIN: B00004WKB5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,408,405 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dan A. Bobrowski on January 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Echolyn disintegrated soon after the Sony debacle and As The World failed to catapult the band to the big leagues. The members went their own ways, Brett Kull, Ray Weston and Paul Ramsey formed Still and Chris Buzby created Finneus Gauge with his brother, John. Chris and Brett, after a few years apart, contacted each other and began talking of getting together and writing some music. They did and at length put together ten tunes, called on Ray and Paul and added Jordan Perlson on percussives and reformed the Echolyn machine.

On Cowboy Poems Free, Buzby reduces the synth heaviness of earlier recordings and relies more heavily on piano and organ for a more immediate and live feel. This album is a "grower." The more you listen, the more you get trapped by the wonderful melodies and warm, heartfelt lyrics. The lyrics for CPF come from various stages of American History. The depression era (Human Lottery, Texas Dust ), WWII (67 Degrees, Too Late for Everything and Brittany) the 50/60's (Grey Flannel Suits, Swinging the Ax). The melodies are strong and will get stuck in your head. This has to be Echolyn's most melodic accomplishment.

Musically the biggest difference between CPF and the previous efforts is bassist Tom Hyatt's absence. Ray Weston handles the bass chores well, but he's not as complex as Hyatt. Believe me when I say, you'll hardly notice. The songs are strong enough that you won't miss that component. The addition of Perlson (Buzby's Berkley student) on conga's (mainly) adds another facet to the sound, more airy and breathable. Buzby's keyboard work really shines, not flashy, but more live and energetic. Vocally, Kull and Weston are so "on the mark" and fresh sounding. They never sound forced, as they do on some tunes from the early days.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Squire Jaco on May 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
With a focus on intimate profiles of early 20th century Americana and historical events and circumstances, "Cowboy Poems Free" creates a new sound for Echolyn, while still retaining many of the progressive trademarks that they displayed on earlier cd's. This is a great cd.

The band itself is top-notch: they've consistently written great songs with compelling lyrics spanning a wide variety of subjects and emotions. Great technicians - they don't overplay, but you get the clear sense that they are both confident and competent in their musical abilities. They excel at fast-paced, multi-layered prog that's reminiscent at times of Gentle Giant's virtuosity and dissonance, and National Health's progressive-fusion cleverness; but they can also slow down and croon a ballad as lovely and heartfelt as anything out there.

The music here is at times fun, often reflective, and always new and interesting - really holds your attention, while still offering some nice melodic hooks. My personal favorites are centered in the middle of the album with "1729 Broadway", "High as Pride", "American Vacation Tune" and "Brittany". "Texas Dust" is also a great energetic album opener, and the cd ends with the absolutely gorgeous "Too Late For Everything".

I also like the vocals on this CD much more than on "As the World", and especially "Suffocating the Bloom" (where Weston could occasionally sound like an over-dramatic Michael Sadler from Saga!). And some great vocal harmonies here too, which at times remind me of....Steely Dan?! I don't know why - maybe the subject matter and some of the wry, bittersweet lyrics.

This is a band that deserves a lot more attention. Their CD "As the World" was a bit more classic prog than this, but very good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By woburnmusicfan on April 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It is SO GREAT to hear a second-generation progressive rock band that realizes the 70s are over. While you can hear occasional hints of bands like King Crimson or Genesis here, they are only hints. This is an up-to-date album, by a band with a unique sound of its own. The band plays with restraint, leaving space in the mix, and has fantastic vocal harmonies and memorable melodies. Some prog-rock bands hit you over the head with how complicated their music is. Echolyn does something harder -- they make complex music sound effortless. The opening track, "Texas Dust", starts with a brisk 7/8 riff, before slowing for the verse; it's only when you count it out that you realize the whole song is in seven time. "Texas Dust", "Human Lottery", "American Vacation Tune", and "1729 Broadway" are highlights. William Barnes' production is great: crisp, clean, and uncluttered.
While the music is of the year 2000, the lyrics are another story. Most of the songs are about past Americana: the Dust Bowl farmers of "Texas Dust", the Depression era sagas "Human Lottery" and "1729 Broadway", the World War I soldier of "Too Late for Everything" and the WWII soldier of "Brittany". The albums weaknesses? Few. The only time they get clever just for clever's sake is an 11/8 riff on "American Vacation Tune". There are a couple of moments that don't seem to fit the overall mood of the songs, such as the "back to sea again" section of "67 Degrees" and the "we miss you, soldier boy" bridge on "Brittany". That's about it. This is an excellent album, and worth trying to track down a copy. "Cowboy Poems Free" is my favorite progressive rock album ever by an American band (unless you count the Dixie Dregs as prog). In my opinion, this album is as good as, say, Yes' "Fragile" or PFM's "Chocolate Kings".
(1=poor 2=mediocre 3=pretty good 4=very good 5=phenomenal)
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