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Willis Alan Ramsey


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Audio CD, July 20, 1999
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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: #79,566 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
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See all 64 customer reviews
WAR is one of my all time favorite albums.
Maura
I surely wish you could find it in your heart to grace us with one more album.
mymartind35
Glad I found it before my cassette and album versions wore out.
Ken Wood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By H. Johnson VINE VOICE on June 30, 1999
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 By H. Johnson VINE VOICE on 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 By Steven Stracke on 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 By THOMAS M. CHRISTY (tcchristy@personalcomputer.net) on 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 By A Customer on November 4, 1999
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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