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Too Long in the Wasteland

James McMurtryAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Price: $4.92 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 1989 $8.99  
Audio CD $7.01  
Audio CD, 1989 $4.92  
Vinyl --  
Audio Cassette, 1989 --  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Painting By Numbers (Album Version) 4:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Terry (Album Version) 3:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Shining Eyes (Album Version) 4:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Outskirts (Album Version) 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Song For A Deck Hands Daughter (Album Version) 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. I'm Not From Here (Album Version) 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Too Long In The Wasteland (Album Version) 4:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Crazy Wind (Album Version) 4:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Poor Lost Soul (Album Version) 3:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Angeline (Album Version) 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Talkin At The Texaco (Album Version) 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 

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James McMurtry - "Freeway View" (LIVE IN EUROPE)


On Just Us Kids, James McMurtry follows up his critically acclaimed Childish Things with a dozen new, sharply drawn illuminations as he continues to hone and expand his considerable gifts. And the self-produced opus (James’ fourth venture pulling strings on both sides of the glass) unquestionably represents his most ambitious, accomplished and ass-kicking presentation to date.

Just ... Read more in Amazon's James McMurtry Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Too Long in the Wasteland + Where'd You Hide the Body + Candyland
Price for all three: $19.69

Buy the selected items together
  • Where'd You Hide the Body $7.54
  • Candyland $7.23

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 7, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000026TV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,985 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Brought to the attention of Columbia Records by a fluke--John Mellencamp was friends with the artist's father, noted author Larry McMurtry--James McMurtry proved himself more than worthy of a record deal, despite such family and industry connections, with his debut album. He backed up his keen sense for lyrical detail with deft, sturdy musicianship, whether picking through delicate numbers such as "Crazy Wind" and "Song for a Deck Hand's Daughter" or delivering anthemic roots rockers such as "Painting by Numbers" and "I'm Not from Here." With an appropriately desolate, deadpan vocal delivery, McMurtry tells tales of desperate small-town characters, painting a vivid picture of an America that lurks far from the bright lights and big cities. --Peter Blackstock

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Long In Obscurity February 24, 2003
Format:Audio CD
I agree with the sentiment expressed by another reviewer that if radio programmers had any imagination, James McMurtry would be a superstar. But, to borrow a line from one of McMurty's songs, the programmers 'work from the neck down', they 'don't call the shots'.
This release alone should have established James McMurtry as a musical superstar, yet as fate has it, he continues to languish in relative obscurity despite a string of pretty decent albums.
I bought "Too Long In the Wasteland" on cassette back when it was released years ago. I was instantly struck by his pithy and witty lyrics, and his dry sardonic delivery.
The very first song, Painting By Numbers, strikes an immediate chord with all who feel trapped in meaningless, dead-end jobs.
I'm Not From Here will resonate with anyone who has moved to another part of the country and encountered the prejudice of regionalism, particularly directed against those who come from states that have contributed large numbers of newcomers to an area. For instance, native Coloradans don't particularly like the influx of Texans and Californians, and so segments of the native population harbor resentments against people from those states. The lyrics could describe many a western city:

nobody's from here
most of us just live here
locals long since moved away
sold their played-out farms for parking lots
went off looking for a better way
The rest of the song rings just as true. I noticed driving home from a long trip today that many ranches are for sale 50-100 miles out from the city as landowners seek to cash in on soaring property values and to escape encroaching urbanization. And I see the same all over the west.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories from the wasteland June 13, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I don't know who to compare McMurtry to, or what catagory to put his music in. I discoved him many years ago when this album was featured on NPR's 'Fresh Air with Terry Gross'. I've loved his work ever since.
I now own all of James McMurtry's CD's, but his debut effort still ranks as my favorite. His uncanny ability to paint pictures of places, people and events with relatively few words is a gift that even his famous author father must envy. James can capture the feeling of a place or situation in a three or four minute song that could take Larry chapters.
It isn't only the lyrics that make this a wonderful CD. The tunes are compelling and memorable with little hooks that I find myself humming repeatedly days and weeks after listening to one of his discs. His distinctive voice is low, warm and with a slight western draw that is quite engaging.
Among my favorite songs on the album are Terry, Song for a Deck Hand's Daughter and Crazy Wind. But perhaps the best song he's ever written is the title track, Too Long in the Wasteland. Whenever I play that song in my car, my son and I just smile and say "Cool Song".
He hasn't released new material since 98, and that is 'too long in the wasteland' for his fans. Hopefully he will resurface soon!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite of a great American songwriter June 20, 2002
Format:Audio CD
James McMurtry has a fantastic knack for distilling people and places into a few well-chosen words. The best i can do, i think, is quote a couple of lyrics:
"I hadn't intended to bend the rules, but whiskey don't make liars, it just makes fools. So I didn't mean to say it, but I meant what I said."
"You should have been here, back about ten years, before it got ruined by folks like me."
"Back home for Christmas, it's just like the good old days, fighting with your Mom, fighting with your sister, your brother had sense so he stayed away".
My only complaint with this album is a little two-beat bar rhythmic device he overuses - he got those surprise rhythms under more control on later albums. But for lyrics, this one is the winner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding album July 6, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I came across his first album, when I visited the US. FIrst, I thought it was Lou Reed, but then someone told me who it was. When I listened through it, I realized that that I've never heard anything like it before. The stories on the album are very down to earth, and the music is great. Every song on the album is great. I just wish the swedish people would discover him, so that he'll make a couple of gigs in sweden.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teriffic sounds from the "wasteland" May 3, 2000
Format:Audio CD
McMurtry's first album is merely a harbinger of the greatness he would later achieve on "Where'd You Hide the Body" and "It Had to Happen" (his two best albums). Still, its pretty damn good. The first side (six tracks) are nearly perfect, starting with the classic "Painting By Numbers," a cynical ode to the working life. "Terry" is a harrowing tale of an unwitting juvenile delinquent; while "Shining Eyes" and "Outskirts," are about relationships both turning sour and being lost. McMurtry can't sustain this level of excellence for the whole album, but his undeniable talent still makes for a stunning debut.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I bought this album on the recommendation of a friend and boy am I glad I did! The lyrics are poignant and yet work. You can tell that he inherited his dad's ('Lonesome Dove' author Larry McMurtry) ability to mold and use the English language. But the great thing is that the music is just as good as the lyrics - you'd be singing along even if the words were meaningless.

I gave my only copy to a friend (and fellow fan who had worn his cassette out) that was called up to active duty after 9/11 - I knew that he could use the boost more than me.

Every McMurtry album has great songs but this one is strong all of the way through!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
He's James Fuckin' McMurtry...what else needs to be said?!!
Published 4 days ago by Alan D. Skipper
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your usual country music
Not main stream country music. Think Neil Young, Bob Dillon. Great story telling and lyrics but not main stream Country.
Published 9 months ago by Jlane
5.0 out of 5 stars This Collection of life in the Wasteland is Rich and Full!
This is a powerful and affecting album which I find deeply touching, moving,powerful, delightful, insightful, and yes, evens makes me laugh at times in delightful recognition that... Read more
Published 10 months ago by jzactor
4.0 out of 5 stars Big CD for him but
Childish Things was better I thought. A bit more range of styles on it. As always he has great tone.
Published 13 months ago by P. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars I Was Too Long Without This CD
I had never heard of James McMurtry until lately. Michael Perry, author of Population: 485, mentioned it on his website,, and I thought I would give it a try. WOW ! Read more
Published 21 months ago by Michael T. Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Good CD
Received product much sooner than expected; quality was great and nothing broken. Was exactly what I expected with no problems. Was a gift and arrived on time.
Published 21 months ago by pib
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music
James McMurtry has fast become my favorite musical artist. He has a laid back sound with a powerhouse message. If you like bob Dylan you'll love McMurtry
Published 21 months ago by T. L.C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Paints a Picture Like James McMurtry
This is an album for people who really like depth and storytelling at its finest. While the average pop, country, or rock listener would probably be confused as to what exactly... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Rob
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
James makes great music and this is one of his best.If you like great American music you won't go wrong with this.
Published 23 months ago by Grant
4.0 out of 5 stars They don't play no rock and roll 'cause it just ain't right.
James McMurtry established himself as a major American songwriter with his debut, "Too Long In The Wasteland. Read more
Published on October 12, 2010 by Tim Brough
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