Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man

Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man

4.6 5
by Lyle Lovett
     
 
A package designed to enthrall fans and win over skeptics, Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man meshes 2 new tracks with 13 others from long, tall Texan Lyle Lovett's early years -- 1986-89 -- as a New Traditionalist pioneer. Lovett's back pages are some of country's best, but the new songs alone are worth the price of admission here. The album-opening "The Truck Song

Overview

A package designed to enthrall fans and win over skeptics, Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man meshes 2 new tracks with 13 others from long, tall Texan Lyle Lovett's early years -- 1986-89 -- as a New Traditionalist pioneer. Lovett's back pages are some of country's best, but the new songs alone are worth the price of admission here. The album-opening "The Truck Song" is an infectious Texas shuffle highlighted by pungent guitar solos and Lovett's wry expressions of devotion to his battered but reliable Old Black pickup. "San Antonio Girl" gets into a western swing-cum-honky-tonk mode in relating Lovett's growing obsession with another guy's girl, although as the song develops into a San Antone travelogue, it appears Lovett is more attached to the city than the female. Otherwise the tune stack illustrates his ability to embrace a multitude of stylistic influences and still keep it country. "Farther Down the Line," from 1986, melds country and pop as artfully as Rodney Crowell was doing at that time. The beautiful folk-styled ballad "This Old Porch," co-written with Robert Earl Keen, is all acute detail and poignant recollection of an unassuming place rife with personal history. Two bittersweet tracks from 1989 Lyle Lovett & His Large Band album, "Which Way Does That Old Pony Run" and "If You Were to Wake Up," illustrate a discreetly expanded sonic palette. There's a lot to chew on in a Lovett song, whether it be lyrics, arrangement, or the sly vocal phrasing that can freight an ordinary lyric with startling intensity and a wealth of emotion.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Check the subhead in the title -- yes, this may be an anthology, but this isn't a greatest hits, it's a collection of songs that emphasize Lyle Lovett's country side and, therefore, is pitched directly at the country audience that never had much truck with him after he started singing "Stand By Your Man," playing with His Large Band, and indulging his passion for Randy Newman. In other words, it's not really representative, particularly in how it consciously avoids his status as a leader of the alt-country movement in the first Bush era. His Large Band, Joshua Judges Ruth, and I Love Everybody are entirely avoided (perhaps saved for Vol. 2), and even good portions of Lovett's country work are ignored, such as "You're Not From Texas" and the rest of The Road to Ensenada, for that matter. That's not really a complaint, but their absence feels more puzzling since two new songs are thrown in for good measure (the really good "The Truck Song," plus "San Antonio Girl"). In any regard, this is a good summary of Lovett's first two albums, containing most of the great songs from those records -- "God Will," "This Old Porch," "If I Were the Man You Wanted," "If I Had a Boat," "Walk Through the Bottomland," and "LA County" are as good as music got in the '80s, and it's a pleasure to hear them in any context. Even so, it's hard to shake the nagging feeling that the whole story isn't told with this collection, and it's even harder not to notice that Lovett hasn't released a collection of original songs since 1996 -- and, for the hardcore fans who are suckered in by the two new songs, it'll be hard not to wish that a full-fledged album is around the corner sometime soon.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/23/2001
Label:
Mca Nashville
UPC:
0008817023427
catalogNumber:
170234

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lyle Lovett   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar
Sam Bush   Mandolin
Emmylou Harris   Background Vocals
Matt Rollings   Piano,Keyboards
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Jeff Borree   Drums
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Gene Eichelberger   Overdubs
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar
John Hagen   Cello
Ray Herndon   Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Viktor Krauss   Bass
Paul Leim   Drums
Matt McKenzie   Bass
Mark O'Connor   Fiddle,Mandola
Dean Parks   Electric Guitar
Mark Prentice   Organ
Brent Rowan   Electric Guitar
J. David Sloan   Background Vocals
Jon Randall   Background Vocals
Leland Sklar   Bass

Technical Credits

Lyle Lovett   Producer
Billy Williams   Producer
Tony Brown   Producer
Gene Eichelberger   Remixing
Robert Earl Keen   Composer
Willie Pevear   Engineer
AAA   Engineer

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Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
This selection of songs from Lovett's first two albums had a Texas swing and country sound. If you are looking the big band or gospel sounds from a bit later, you will not find them here. The musicianship and the sound are impeccable. The flaw with this collection is Lyle's ironic tone. It works on songs like If I Had A Boat. However, on the murder-revenge ballad LA County the listener is left to wonder how such a cynical guy could become so enraged at his ex-lover and her fiancee that he would follow them to California and gun them down at the altar. Lovett would move further away from straight country as time went on. This is valuable as a look at his early roots.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great compilation of classic Lovett with two great new songs. His backup singers are among the finest in this genre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely wonderful album. Every selection is excellent, and a fan who was not familiar with Lovett's work from 80's is in for a real treat. Go Lyle, you are THE MAN.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful collection of Lyle; it doesn't get much better than this. I particularly like ''Farther Down the Line'' if I had to pick a favorite on the CD. I highly recommend this CD to any country music fan. It's the best!