Wires from the Bunker

Wires from the Bunker

by John Stewart


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Wires from the Bunker

There is quite a tale concerning how these "lost tapes" of John Stewart, recorded from 1983 to 1985, came to the light of day. The liner notes tell the saga of a dusty box of dusty tapes in a dusty garage, being very poorly duct-taped by Stewart, and then mailed to his friend Tom Delisle in 1991. Stewart, a humble sort of musical celebrity, was merely trying to clear out his garage. The recordings were made just after Stewart lost his third big-label contract, this time with RSO, where he had released the 1978 hit "Gold." Two albums and a declining sales demographic later, Stewart was shopping for a label, but still writing and recording. Hence, the fabled box of recordings. The musical modus employed on these 18 songs is a mix of Stewart's earlier folk and singer/songwriter styles on Capitol Records and RCA, both solo and with the Kingston Trio, and his echo-y, hypno-rock style from his RSO days. Of the latter style, especially choice is "American Way," a pumping rocker featuring friend and Fleetwood Mac alumnus Lindsey Buckingham on backing vocals. It is a compelling, hook-driven song that would not have been out of place on Stewart's hit RSO album Bombs Away Dream Babies. In his folkier mode, "The Escape of Old John Webb," a tune earlier recorded by the Kingston Trio, is a standout. Ex-Trio mates Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds even assist on backing vocals. The worth of this collection depends on how one feels about Stewart and garages. For the converted, it is an unexpected treasure "box." Of the 18 cuts, a good dozen are album-ready, major-to minor gems. Even the demo-ish curios are never less than interesting. For those uninitiated to the pleasures of Stewart's music, a better place to start would probably be 1969's classic California Bloodlines on Capitol Records or 1979's Bombs Away Dream Babies on RSO. Of course, neither of these recordings was once held together by duct tape.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/10/2000
Label: Appleseed Records
UPC: 0611587104724
catalogNumber: 1047
Rank: 72264

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