Thursday, May 9, 2013

Found Vinyl: Hardin & Russell - Ring of Bone

I've been all over the board lately musically, and that suits me fine, especially when crate digging for artists and albums that i might otherwise ignore or pass over.  One of my latest gems is the country/folk 1976 album "Ring of Bone"  by Hardin & Russell.  Recorded in Austin, the duo of Patricia Hardin and Tom Russell combined their shared love of Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, the Beat Generation, and classical music to create a really solid piece of work.  The two didn't stay in Texas for long though, moving to San Francisco shortly after the album was out to join the ongoing west coast fold scene.  One more album followed before they broke up around 1980.

All of the songs on the record tie together pretty nicely, though still touching on different styles and themes.  The piano and strings on the title track carry a sense of 1970's melodrama to them, but the song is beautiful and definitely worth a listen.

The duo weren't just about sad bastard music though, as evidenced by the parlor-filling and jazzy "Mrs. Zeelsdorf's Garden."  (My dad would have loved this song.)

And then there's pure Americana with "Beneath Canyon Walls (Bert Loper)."

And here's one more just for the hell of it.  "Mojave."  Dig on that proggy jazz flute.

All in all, "Ring of Bone" is great piece of Americana folk music, and i would suggest to anyone with even a passing interest in the folk genre.  (Plus, the old man on the album cover looks like he's primed to be in one of those early 90's heavy metal videos where half naked old dudes hung out in dirty, confined spaces.  You know what i'm talking about.)

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