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2023 Albums Thing 154 - Emmylou Harris “Evangeline”

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We’ve moved into the 1980’s, you can tell because opening song “I Don’t Have To Crawl” has synthesisers on it.

“Evangeline” is a kind of a compilation album, being made up of tracks from previous album sessions that went unused at the time. And to be honest, it sounds like it. It’s confused and disjointed. We have two more songs from the ill-fated sessions with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt (the standard “Mr Sandman” and the title song), another “standard” in “How High The Moon” and a cover of Creedence’s “Bad Moon Rising”.

There are some bright spots. There’s a passable try at Gram and the Burrito’s “Hot Burrito #2”, nothing special but OK. “Spanish Johnny” sung in duet with Waylon Jennings sounds as great as you’d expect it to given the two singers. But the best thing on “Evangeline” is James Taylor’s “Millworker”. Originally written for the Broadway musical “Working” based on Studs Terkel’s book “Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do”. The song is written from the point of view of a woman, widowed and left with three children to raise who works in a textile mill, daydreaming and reflecting on her life. A quite beautiful song that Emmylou handles with respect and skill.

“Evangeline” was released in 1981 and gave Emmylou a Top 5 Country album and a top 10 single (“Mr Sandman”, although she had to re-record Dolly and Linda’s parts for the single as their record companies wouldn’t allow them to appear on a single). 

Millworker - https://youtu.be/aTmd2OyqtaM

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