Thursday, February 14, 2019

Troubadours of Perception

We'll take ourselves a one-day respite from the BHM posts for this little anniversary thing about a songwriter most people have never even heard of, but whom I hold in very high esteem.
His records are as rare as diamonds, but he's been around for over 50 years under the radar.
He helped to create a standalone genre with what he does and how he does it: Psych Folk, for lack of a better, less dated term.
Like something of a cross between Tim Buckley and Sixto Rodriguez, his tunes and his voice have a haunted, slightly unsettled quality and his lyrics take emotional melancholy into another galaxy.
His two, ultimately classic late 1960s LPs on the genre-shattering ESP-Disk label have never even been properly reissued, yet occupy a status of legend just the same.
The songs he fashions have two, essentially distinct settings: the historical ballad side -- he often sings authentic stuff from the American Civil War -- and the psychodrama songs that are often about breakups and what causes them.
There just isn't anyone like Randy Burns, is there? He is like an oldschool folkie and a modern songwriter all at once.
In a strange way, his damaged romantic balladry is as perfectly suited for Valentine's Day as a box of chocolates. 
And what sort of candy have we today? Why, it's a piece so rare there's not any single trace of it on the web.
I think this was something Randy himself might have CDRd and sold at his own shows back 15 years ago, but I can't be sure.
Either way, it's a most revealing document of this most unusual, yet somehow totally traditional, songsmith.
Randy Burns
"Live At Jocko's"
Jocko Sullivan's
New Haven, Connexticut
2.14.1976

01 The Girl I Love
02 It Gets Easier
03 Marie
04 Don't Reach Out for My Hand
05 California Yodelin' Blues
06 Won't It Be Grand
07 The Last Thing On My Mind
08 I Like to Sleep Late In the Morning
09 Wild Mountain Thyme
10 Time Run Like a Freight Train
11 Follow
12 Civil War talk
13 Civil War medley
14 The Streets of Montreal
15 More Often than Not
16 Oh! Shenandoah
17 Ain't Nobody's Business

Total time: 57:01

Randy Burns - guitar & vocals

soundboard CDR, possibly sold by RB at his shows in the early 2000s
319 MB FLAC here
I shall be right back tomorrow with a milestone Black History birthday bash, as we slog on through the February snowdrifts towards the Spring.
Right now, however, you have the chance to discover a new -- yet old -- favorite songwriter, via this astonishly scarce live set from precisely 43 years previous!--J.