It's taken me a while between the last instalment and this one, and apart from the usual reasons for delays of that sort - too much else going on - there has been a reason intrinsic to the exercise itself: I've been finding it very difficult to arrive at my track rankings on the two albums to be highlighted today. First I found that my judgements were slightly different from what they'd been last time I went through the exercise (early 1997), and so I had to listen again to make sure of them; and then I had to listen yet again if I still hadn't settled things. I know you all wouldn't want to think I was taking the matter lightly.
Bronwen Wallace (from Keep That Candle Burning Bright and other poems):
[Y]ou'll... know what I mean when I say there's nothing like country for a hurtin' song, something to do with steel strings, I think, and the way a country voice isn't afraid to let you hear the places where it breaks, that twang it gets from carrying bluegrass and gospel a little further west. A voice like that knows something about how to carry longing, too. I mean the hard, practical work of it, day to day.1980 - Roses in the Snow
Roses in the Snow is the only Emmylou album, in my own view, that can challenge Luxury Liner and/or Elite Hotel (see the earlier instalments) for top spot in the Emmylou album rankings. How do I rank these three, in fact? For the answer to that question you must wait, mouth watering, until the end of the series. Anyway, Roses in the Snow was Emmy's most bluegrass album to this point, and a triumph. Ricky Skaggs is there again and, rightly or wrongly, I think I see his influence. Ranking the tracks was a great headache, as I've said, except that rock solid throughout was my number 1 - by A.P. Carter. Top track: Gold Watch and Chain. Runner-up: Jordan. Bubbling-unders: Roses in the Snow; Green Pastures; The Boxer.
1981 - Evangeline
Not in the same class as the foregoing, but a good 'un all the same. The title track is by Robbie Robertson and some of you will recall that Emmylou appears in The Last Waltz, singing this number with the Band. (The Band, now there's something for Canada to boast about. OK, partly.) Top track: I Don't Have To Crawl. Runner-up: Evangeline. Bubbling-unders: Spanish Johnny; Millworker; Mister Sandman.
Thanks to those other Emmylou blogger fans who've linked to earlier instalments in the series. Those I know about: Mitch Berg at Shot in the Dark; British Spin at British Politics; Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber; Scott Johnson at Power Line; and Middle Aged Curmudgeon at UK Politics on the Left. There is a large (40%) Minnesota contingent. If you've linked and I've omitted you through not knowing, please give me an email shout. It's a developing Emmylou blogger net!
[The first three instalments were posted on November 2, 16 and 19 at the old normblog site.]