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Willis Alan Ramsey

Willis Alan RamseyAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)


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Audio CD, 1999 --  
Vinyl --  
Audio Cassette, 1990 --  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 20, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Koch Records
  • ASIN: B00000JKG2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,676 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ballad Of Spider John
2. Muskrat Candlelight
3. Geraldine And The Honeybee
4. Wishbone
5. Satin Sheets
6. Goodbye Old Missoula
7. Painted Lady
8. Watermelon Man
9. Boy From Oklahoma
10. Angel Eyes
11. Northeast Texas Woman

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A landmark of the progressive country movement, with some of the sweetest, most memorable songs of the '70s, this album has both a rough and silky warmth, distinguished by Ramsey's bass, guitar, and harmonica work, and by his great patience and musical care. As good as the songs are, Ramsey's country-soul voice, owing more to his Alabama roots than to Texas, is even finer. And even if you've never heard of him, you'll recognize his compositions. "Muskrat Candlelight" is notorious, and if that song makes you wary, it shouldn't. Ramsey's version has a soulful glide and captures an elusive romantic tone. David Bromberg recorded "Northeast Texas Women" and Jerry Jeff Walker covered "Ballad of Spider John," but the mythic air of Ramsey's originals--especially "Boy From Oklahoma," the best song ever written about Woody Guthrie--has never been equaled. Unfortunately, the reticent, demanding Ramsey never found that groove again, and while rumors of a follow-up have circulated for decades, his exquisite debut is all we have. --Roy Kasten

Product Description

CD has 11 songs. Published by Wishbone Music.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(64)
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Before Lyle Lovett released "Step Inside This House," the only brushes with the work of Willis Alan Ramsey most folks had were via The Captain and Tennille's version of "Muskrat Love," or perhaps Jimmy Buffett's cover of "The Ballad of Spider John." Thanks to the release of "Step Inside This House," apparently enough interest has arisen to prompt the re-release of Willis Alan Ramsey's self-titled album. Originally released in the 70's, this album made a huge splash with fans of the Austin-based music scene of that period. However, Ramsey chafed under the constraints of the music business-even within the relatively loose bounds of Shelter Records-and to the best of my knowledge, he never released another recording. (Until Lovett's "Step Inside This House," I wondered if he'd died.)
An interviewer once asked Clint Black-respected as a songwriter in spite of his place in "Commercial Country"-what five albums he'd want with him on a desert island. He reportedly rattled off a mixed list of country and rock artists, and then, as an afterthought, named one more: "Willis Alan Ramsey." This recording truly is a treasure. Listen to it, and you'll find that, like a well-loved piece of antique furniture, it gets better with time. (If the world is a just place, we'll next see a re-release of a Steve Fromholz recording.)
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reluctant messiah among songwriters. September 30, 1999
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Nearly three decades after it was first released, it's a little ironic to recall that this recording, now a word-of-mouth legend, was initially considered a commercial flop.
Willis Alan Ramsey's start as a recording artist came about a little unusually. After being snubbed by James Taylor's producer, Ramsey approached Leon Russell at his motel, following Russell's appearance in Austin with the Allmann Brothers. After listening to Ramsey, Russell invited him to California for another audition. The album that followed, recorded at various locations across the country, took a year to complete. While Russell's Shelter Records was widely considered a haven for those artists alienated by the big labels, Ramsey still reportedly felt that the process of making the album came at the expense of too many artistic compromises. To him, the music business was simply too much about business and not enough about music, even within the relatively loose constraints of "America's answer to Apple Records."
While many "insiders" blamed Shelter Records for failing to support Ramsey's debut album, the surprising truth was that Ramsey himself asked Shelter not to promote it. In an interview with Jan Reid, a journalist for Texas Monthly magazine (and author of "The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock," a fascinating account of the rise of the progressive country scene of the time), Ramsey said: "I just don't like advertisement. I don't like somebody to feel like they've got to shove something down my throat before I'll find out about it. Because I know that people who listen to records as much as I do will gradually hear one if it's any good. Let it stand the test of time.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last, Willis without scratches and pops December 8, 1999
Format:Audio CD
What an incredible album/CD! I saw WAR at the now-defunct Bijou in San Antonio in 1976. No back-up band. Just WAR, a guitar and a microphone. Absolutely one of the best musical performances I EVER saw. I remember hearing a "thump, thump, thump" throughout the show, thinking there was some sort of programmable percussion. Halfway through "Angel Eyes", I realized it was his foot lightly tapping on the mic stand. It was humorous, but at the same time, fitting. Simple songs, sung naturally and performed beautifully. I have a copy of this album, but have been unable to listen to it for 10 years, due to the amount of wear. I am so grateful to finally get a copy of it on CD!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Austin, Texas progressive country artists November 20, 1999
Format:Audio CD
I came face to face with WAR at the Alliance Wagonyard during the "armadillo" daze in Austin about 1972. Hearing these songs live without any accompaniment was incredible! I found this disc three years ago at a used cd store on the drag in Austin so it rocks that is has been rereleased for all of the new fans waiting to be made. This album has the sincerity & honesty of one of the most talented songwriters of a generation. Besides "Spider John", my favorite has to be "Geraldine" or "Northeast Texas Women". If you have never heard of this music, do yourself a flavor and get it. To all the rest of you - keep on rocking! See Lyle Lovett (Step Inside This House) for an update on WAR.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like finding a long lost friend November 4, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have an ancient vinyl copy of this, now worn and scratched and battered, but had given up hope of finding it on CD. It was interesting to read the other customer reviews and learn a little more about this album. This music stands up to the 20 odd years since its recording with grace, wit and style. Even though others have recorded these tunes, even Shawn Colvin, Ramsey's delivery is the best. Of course if you are reading this, you are probably already a fan, but if you have never heard this music, slip it into your shopping cart, you won't regret it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Willis Alan Ramsey CD from Waterloo Records
Price was great. 30.00 cheaper than the next used copy on Amazon. Although the condition was described as good, I would describe it as excellent. Read more
Published 1 month ago by ernessch
5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved this album for many years.
It is melodic, inspired, and funny, as well as deceptively simple. I waited for years to find it on CD, and when I saw it, paid a "pretty penny" to get a copy which would... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gary
5.0 out of 5 stars Music from the past.
Although Willis Alan Ramsey is still touring it is almost impossible to find this first album.. Love love love it.
Published 6 months ago by Djkuntz
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this CD.
This was a replacement for a record damaged in a flood. Hearing these songs again brought back memories from my younger days. It's a classic.
Published 11 months ago by Terry Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars don't over pay
There is no need to overpay for this , especially at the exorbitant prices being asked here.
the CD, brand new, is available directly from the artist at a reasonable price of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by K
2.0 out of 5 stars Too scratched up
Two to Three songs too scratched to listen to on the CD. I love the CD, but one of my favorite songs can't be played
Published 13 months ago by joe downey
5.0 out of 5 stars A testament to great songwriting.
I heard Willis in 1977 while in college. A year later I started playing guitar and this album has been a very big part of my maturation as a performing artist. Read more
Published 17 months ago by mymartind35
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to find and wonderful
Much loved by his devoted fans and often unheard of by others, Ramsey is a wonderful singer-songwriter. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Hazel
5.0 out of 5 stars Down to earth as it gets
I frst saw WAR back in 73 in OKC at the Starlight Ballroom. His first album had come out and we came to see him. Read more
Published on March 23, 2012 by A huge fan
5.0 out of 5 stars seriously can i give some more stars?
saw willis last year in austin (took a big aeroplane to get there), and his voice and guitar playing were equal if not better to when i used to see him at the birchmere in... Read more
Published on June 17, 2011 by James Rhoades
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