Butch Hancock Diamond Hill
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- Released: June 1, 1999
- Label: Rainlight Records
- 1.Sea's Deadog Catch
- 2.Capture...Fracture...and the Rapture
- 3.Long Road to Asia Minor
- 4.Smokin' in the Rain
- 5.Fightin' for My Life
- 6.Personal Rendition of the Blues
- 7.Row of Dominoes
- 8.Once Followed by the Wind
- 9.Wild Horses Chase the Wind
- 10.Own and Own
- 11.Mario y Maria
- 12.Eternal Triangles
- 13.Only Born
- 14.Gift Horse of Mercy
- 15.Wind's Dominion
Personnel: Butch Hancock (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica); Jo Ann Parks (vocals); David Halley (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Lloyd Maines (acoustic guitar, steel guitar); Joe Ely (dobro); Tim McCasland (banjo); Sharon Ely (autoharp); Jim Eppler (mandolin); Richard Bowden (violin, cello); Ponty Bone (accordion); Don Caldwell (saxophone); Tony Pearson (trombone, baritone horn); Tommy Anderson (horns); Bill Gammill (piano); Bruce Alderson (upright bass); Donnie Maines (drums).
Audio Mixers: Lloyd Maines; Butch Hancock.
Recording information: Caldwell Studios, Lubbock, TX.
Photographer: Butch Hancock.
After recording the spare masterwork West Texas Waltzes and Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes in 1978 and the eclectic double-LP The Wind's Dominion in 1979, Butch Hancock opted for a full-band outing on Diamond Hill in 1980. Several of these songs -- "Diamond Hill," "Neon Wind," "Ghost of Give and Take Avenue," and "Corona del Mar" -- were issued on Sugar Hill collections in the '80 and '90s, but the album (available on CD in 1998) is well worth hearing in its entirety. It is much more uniform than The Wind's Dominion, and the instrumental muscle adds a new dimension to Hancock's word-heavy songs. One might describe the mixture of pedal steel, acoustic guitar, piano, and occasional saxophone as country-folk. Even with a band, however, Hancock, with his croaky vocals and rich wordplay, is always front and center. The Tex-Mex-flavored "Corona del Mar" begins with the lovely lines, "Golden sunlight...please save us from our dreams/They're not all that bad...but they're sure not what they seem." To anyone familiar with Hancock, no one else could've written the line; to everyone else, the curious phrasing is immediately distinctive. Hancock has too often been compared to Bob Dylan, but the association makes sense if one states that Hancock, as original and idiosyncratic as any singer/songwriter, is one of the rare musical visionaries worth mentioning in the same sentence with Dylan. Diamond Hill is a satisfying effort from one of the best songwriters to ever come out of Texas. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.
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