Nostalgic Country Gold
Lucinda Williams has picked up one of country music’s biggest cult followings since her 1988 eponymous third album. She has supported the likes of Bob Dylan on tour, while other industry greats, such as Tom Petty, have celebrated her music with covers. She is a noted country music great, whose work is praised by fellow musicians and critics alike.
Williams has re-issued her album, Lucinda Williams, remastered and with a second disc to include her May 19, 1989 live performance at Eindhoven and six additional live radio tracks. The album sounds solid, as all the instruments and voices clear and audible. The lyrics paint classic country tales of love, heartache and the need to expand one’s horizons, as alluded to in “Like a Rose” and “The Night’s Too Long.” Williams is known as a perfectionist, taking years between releases to ensure that her work sounds as immaculate and inspired as it does when she initially imagines it.
That said, was it necessary to include the Eindhoven performance with the re-issue? The concert itself really isn’t anything special. It seems like the set was kind of run-through and done before. There is no final applause or “Thank you, good night,” making it feel like a very incomplete sampling of the concert.
The six extra radio tracks make more sense to include than the whole Eindhoven show. These tracks give the listener enough to spoil their nostalgia without feeling guilty about a second disc that won’t get more than one or two listens. “Nothing in Rambling” and “Sundays” are both phenomenal and deserve attention, while “Goin’ Back Home” demands it. These tracks accomplish what the entire concert did, because, while the three different radio performances certainly do not sound like they are part of a full concert, neither does Eindhoven show.
Lucinda Williams’ re-issue is a great album for any fan of her work or anyone who loves classic, down home, roots-based country music. Her songwriting is impeccable and the instrumentation brings back that old sleazy, swamp style country music that seems to have been lost in the years. Noted as one of America’s greatest songwriters, Williams is deservedly one of the most acclaimed female country singers to surface since the ’80s.