Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Third Time Around - Bill Staines


Third Time Around
by Bill Staines
Catfish Records

If "A Bag of Rainbows" is the Holy Grail of Bill Staines albums, this one is the Life of Brian, if you will. It's been a long time looking for "Third Time Around." The condition is not bad, and overall this one and "Somebody Blue" sound pretty good, considering my turntable is on its last legs and is not long for the world.

This is not his third album. It's his fourth. The one (the only one) I'm missing is "Bill Staines," his self-titled album on Evolution Records from 1971. Here, two years later, Staines has matured into the sound that we are most familiar with. His voice occupies that fine mid-range, and his guitar work and songwriting seem more confident and in-step with his subsequent body of work.

There are some great tracks on this record. I particuarly enjoy "Sunshine Islands" and the ultra-rare "Staines Trumpet Concerto in E," the latter of which he wasn't terribly pleased with, and subsequently has never appeared again anywhere. It's a mouth trumpet concerto, you see. The final track "Ballad of the Maples" is also a good one, in that it showcases his considerable yodeling tallent. The guy wasn't a champion yodeler for nothing, although you don't here him doing it much these days. I think it's probably his only yodel showcase on any of his albums.

1. Sunshine Islands
2. That's the Way it Happens All the Time
3. This Song is For the Birds
4. Whipporwill
5. Staines' Trumpet Concerto in E
6. I can Feel the Sweet Wind Blowin'
7. Railroad Blues
8. Loving You is All I know That's Real
9. Just for Love (a Race Horse)
10. Ballad of the Maples

Download Album Here

Somebody Blue - Bill Staines


Somebody Blue
by Bill Staines
Champlain Records

Bill's second album, recorded in Massachusetts not long after "A Bag of Rainbows." You can see his solo technique developing and already he has his trademark gift for simple engaging melody. There's more info about this album in his memoir but I don't have my copy with me. Will update in a few months when I have it again, to fill in the whole story of how the record came to be.

I particuarly enjoy "Country Boy" and "That's the Way it Happens All the Time," which also appears on his fourth album.

1. Happiness Is
2. Highway North
3. Prairie Winds
4. Country Boy
5. Somebody Blue
6. Campbell Street
7. That's the Way it Happens All the Time
8. Once in a While
9. Magnificent Morning
10. Liliana
11. Blue Eyed Mountain Maid

Download Here