The River's Badge

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Album Review ~ Old Yellow Moon ~ Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell


For those who read my blog regularly, you know that I don't buy music anymore.  That is partially my fault and partially the music business's fault.

I will take the blame for being stuck in the past, but in my defense, if good music was being made, do you think I wouldn't buy it?

To me, an artist has to prove themselves.  I didn't buy Billy Ray Cyrus's album in 1992, and history has proven me correct.  BR was a one-hit wonder.  I'm not going to squander my hard-fought dollars on a flash in the pan.

Emmylou and Rodney, though, I know.  I've known them since the early nineteen seventies.  Okay, I didn't know that Rodney was "Rodney".  I just knew he was "that guy who sang backup for Emmylou", and he apparently (my liner notes told me) wrote a bunch of the songs she was singing.

Elite Hotel was a wondrous thing.  A country music album for music lovers who had been left in the dust by leisure-suited hipsters who were entranced by the likes of Dave and Sugar.


Rodney stepped out on his own a bit later; a decade or so later, actually. 

Apparently, Rodney liked to do things in a big way, because his 1988 Diamonds and Dirt produced five consecutive number one singles; and is, to me, one of the best country albums of all time.


So, when these two decided to get back together, lo these many, many years later, I was intrigued.

Old Yellow Moon was a birthday gift. 

Emmylou has white hair now; and Rodney probably does, too; under that hat.  But it bears repeating:  chronological age does not render one useless and hapless.   True talent triumphs.

So, I listened to the album tonight.

Is it sacrilegious to say that my favorite tracks were not written by Rodney Crowell?

My absolute favorite track is a song that I loved back when Waylon recorded it; and what could be better than hearing two of my favorite artists singing it?



I was surprised to learn that Allen Reynolds had written "Dreaming My Dreams".  What I remember about Allen Reynolds is that he wrote a bunch of pop-tart songs for Crystal Gayle; but I guess I sold him way short.  Dreaming My Dreams is a gorgeous song.  I'm just glad that Crystal Gayle didn't make a hit of it.

You may or may not know that Vince Gill was also one of Emmylou's backup singers; way back when.  Here he is, introducing Emmylou and Rodney; in an admittedly poor quality video; singing another of my ultimate favorite country songs, "Invitation to the Blues"; which was written by Roger Miller:


Oh, but it's not just old songs.  Nay.  This album contains many good tracks, including "Spanish Dancer", "Back When We Were Beautiful" (written by the great Matraca Berg); "Here We Are"; actually written by Rodney!  And the title track, "Old Yellow Moon":


 I give this album a solid B+.

But you know me; I'm a sucker for the old (or new) tried and true.






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