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Too Long In The Wasteland

4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Original Release Date: February 5, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SBME SPECIAL MKTS.
  • Run Time: 44 minutes
  • ASIN: B0012GMX4M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,383 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on 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.
Read more ›
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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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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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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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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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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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