By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
MEIC STEVENS,OUTLANDER (Warner, 1970): Pushed to a major as the Welsh Dylan or Van Morrison, Meic Stevens became something of a lost national hero (as championed by Super Furry Animals) for singing in his rebellious native language; on this first album he wanders with Syd Barrett through the Wild West with "Oxblood" or the somber "Love Owed" and does a rolling stone on "Ballad of Old Joe Blind."
BILL FOX,TRANSIT BYZANTIUM(SpinArt, 1998): Former front man of Cleveland's honestest pop band the Mice bummed out on the loud rock & roll à la Jonathan Richman and picked up an acoustic instead. This-guitar-kills sentiment and melodies from Buddy Holly on songs like "My Baby Crying" help Fox tell it sad: "Bring out the shroud/The rebel prophet just got stoned by the crowd/Who walked away and laughed out loud/At my baby crying . . ."
THE TRIFFIDS,LAWSON SQUARE INFIRMARYEP (Hot Records, 1984): Australia's Triffids corrected for neighbors AC/DC with post-punk parts from Television but turned country for these slow songs about the lower points in life. Love goes flat on "When My Heart Breaks" and "Crucifixion Speech" and the rest of life follows on "Mercy": "Rich man wants to be young again," sings David McComb. "Young man, well, he just wants to be rich."
VARIOUS,COWBOY SONGS ON FOLKWAYS (Folkways, 1991): Companion CD to the 1910 book (available on Nathan Willett's new bookshelf) by the pioneering folk-song rescuer John Lomax, rolling up real ranch hand classics recorded by jus-folks like Woodie Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger (a resonant "Oh, give me a home . . .") and even John Lomax Jr. (a rumbling a cappella rendition of "Texian Boys"). A long-lost campfire pal for the American Anthology of Folk Music.