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Happy Woman Blues

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Happy Woman Blues
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Audio CD, July 13, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Happy Woman Blues is the first recording to establish Lucinda as a songwriter of note. Lucinda's country and blues roots are evident throughout these compositions, and are off-set by her fresh, contemporary treatment. Liner notes by renowned critic John Morthland offer a passionate glimpse into the mind and career of this truly original artist.

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All too often dismissed as an immature work that was quickly eclipsed by her self-titled breakthrough on Rough Trade, Williams's second and final album for Folkways reveals much about her current lyrical sensibility and vocal approach. Most singer-songwriters, in fact, would give their Martins for songs as good as "Lafayette" and "Maria." That she reprises "I Lost It" on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and continues to explore this album's themes--the value of native ground and the endurance of loss--is enough evidence that, while not as overwhelming as the work to come, Happy Woman Blues should not be overlooked by fans of this vital artist. --Roy Kasten
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 13, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • ASIN: B000001DFT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,369 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Happy Women Blues was my first exposure to the authentic and classic musicianship of Lucinda Williams. What I first suspected was a recording from perhaps the nineteen-fifties, was in fact produced during 1980. Happy Women Blues is a trip back in time to campfire sessions, small town gatherings and country fairs. This collection of folk, country and hillbilly music is heavy on slide and pedal steel guitar, fiddle and viola. Perhaps a disappointment to some, the CD is light on modern recording techniques and post-production work. All the compositions resemble first-takes - warts and all. There are ample doses of tape hiss and distortion (wow and flutter). Happy Woman Blues may not be pristine, but it is sincere - it shows the beginnings of an exceptional talent with a keen ability to approach popular music from a traditional perspective. If I had heard these songs performed live at the corner bar by Lucinda and her band, I would have raved-on for weeks. For those who thought that `Passionate Kisses' was a bit overproduced or too commercial, Happy Woman Blues may be your cup of tea. And if there's an ounce of pretension on this recording, I'll buy you a copy. Promise.
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Format: Audio CD
A couple of years ago, I reviewed this and gave it three stars. Since then, I've come to realize how good this disc really is; it gets better all the time. This was Lucinda's second release, and it's more country/folk than her later stuff. As raw as this is, the songwriting is superb. She has become known as one of the best artists around, and here you see,(and hear) that she had this gift right from the start. A classic.
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Format: Audio CD
Lucinda Williams fans must hear "Happy Woman Blues" to get a full view of her skills. Recorded in 1980 on Folkways, the songs are less precise and controlled than her recent releases. Lucinda's voice is lighter and so is the general mood. As the title alludes, these songs reflect the freewheeling spirit of a then-twentysomething troubador who was enjoying life. The songs are generally simpler, more direct and happier that Lucinda's later work. But present here is her skill at choosing the telling detail that reveals character and communicates emotion. There is melancholy to be sure in these songs, but the voice is unrestrained, working in a higher key than today and generally does not carry the weight of life's bigger disappointments. Listen to "I Lost It" from this album and compare it to the slower, lower, heavier remake Lucinda has included in her newest (commercial breakthrough?) CD, "Car Wheels On Gravel Road." On this nearly two-decade-old recording, which was re-released in the early '90s, Lucinda makes strong use of melody and vocal phrasing to convey her songs' content. Even in this first recording of her own material, however, Lucinda displays the ability to endow her words with much more meaning than is evident from a simple reading of her lyrics. "King Of Hearts" -- a personal favorite -- manages to shade the hopeful longing of a blooming relationship with the pain of past disappointment and, despite that, a backhanded optimism. This album is an absolute gem. It stands up to repeated listenings. It has been moving me for 15 years. Yes, Lucinda has been the real thing for a long time.
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Format: Audio CD
I was in the public library recently, flipping through the CD's. I pulled a handful and listened. What a joy it was to hit this one! I so much love discovering an artist and body of work that I knew nothing of. I feel like an armchair explorer.
I have since picked up 6 more of her CD's and enjoy them all. This one is very good. There is an unguarded down-home sound to her voice here that seems to fade in following albums. It is an early work but is more sophisticated than the Ramblin' CD. The addition of background vocals and more instruments fills out the songs a little. But I still enjoy the simple sound of this period.
Mike
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Format: Audio CD
Ever since I got this CD I have not been able to take if off my CD player. I hesitated to buy this CD for a while because I just was not sure how her real early music would sound but it ranks right up there with her self-titled album. It's a little more country-folky but it's less produced and the songs are REAL. I don't think there is a better songwriter than Lucinda around today. This may not be for everyone but it's perfect for me. I played it at least once everyday for a whole month and I am still loving it! It works for whatever mood I'm in, but best when I'm driving in the country or late nite.
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Format: Audio CD
My first Lucinda Williams album was Car Wheels. I listened to it for months straight. Then I bought the self titled album Lucinda Williams. I thought that was even better. Then I bought Happy Woman Blues and its even better than that!!! Her voice stays in my head long after I turn the music off. I've completely fallen in love!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
Lucinda stated that she thought this was the record to avoid. A throw away that she made just to get her feet wet in the industry. I first heard Lucinda in Princeton, NJ opening for David Byrne. She blew him away and my eyes were opened to this musical genius. HWB is the perfect stepping stone to LW's later recordings. Vinyl pressings are climbing into the hundreds of dollars. Small wonder. You'll enjoy this Cd. Scott Neuman Forever Vinyl .com
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