Terry Allen - Juarez LP
Originally released in 1975 on the Lubbock-bred singer/songwriter/visual artist's own Fate label and reissued in the '90s by Sugar Hill, Terry Allen's first album bears the influences of fellow Lubbockites Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Joe Ely and of Californian adventurers Randy Newman and Little Feat, whose artsy folk-Western swing-R&B melange may be the album's nearest point of reference. Allen, at the time a teacher and artist-in-residence at California's Chouinard Institute, originally conceived JUAREZ as the soundtrack to an exhibit of lithographs. In fact, the struggling artist was only able to pay the studio musicians by giving them copies of the artwork. JUAREZ more than stands on its own merits as a concept album/morality play concerning two pairs of lovers on a southwestern killing spree. Allen's uncommon lyrical skill and unerring eye for detail are already in full evidence here, and JUAREZ is a fine debut.