One for Friday — Lyle Lovett, “L.A. County”


Since I invoked Lyle Lovett in yesterday’s album review, it seems an appropriate time to return to him in this weekly act of music-sharing. Lovett first entered into my little cohort of favored artists with the release of his second album, Pontiac, in 1987. It was a wildly egalitarian time for country music, with fifty different songs topping the Billboard country chart in 1987 and forty-nine achieving the same feat in 1988. All comers were welcome, from venerable acts to peppy up-and-comers. And yet Lovett made only meager headway, despite a classic country sound, sharp songwriting skills, and a look that was, to put it mildly, memorable.

So Lovett was starting to be celebrated in other quarters. Rolling Stone touted his craft, and the one commercial radio station in my town with an ounce of daring was giving modest airplay to the song “If I Had a Boat.”  That track is so masterful that it alone should have prompted me to part with my money to secure a copy of Pontiac. I’m ashamed to admit it instead took me several years before I started properly fortifying my collection with Lovett’s terrific efforts.

Pontiac did eventually get its honored place on the CD shelf, and I took great pleasure in soaking in its earthy charms. And since I came to it after some of the later albums, digging deeper into the tracks that never got a push (according to most sources, Pontiac yielded five singles to murmuring indifference of country radio) gave the sense of finding a fundamental beginning that eventually evolved into the more complex offerings that we felt could nestle in fine on our college radio playlists. The jaunty “L.A. County” is a dandy example.

Listen or download —> Lyle Lovett, “L.A. County”

(Disclaimer: As I’ve shared previously, I believe a sizable chunk of Lovett’s discography is currently unavailable in a physical form that can be procured from your favorite local, independently owned record store in a manner that compensates both the original artist and the proprietor of said shop. That’s dismaying to me, and I hope I’m wrong. If my feeble detective work did lead me to an erroneous conclusion, let the sharing of the above track serve as a prompt to go and snap up some of Lovett’s albums. There’s fantastic songwriting to be found on each and every one. Although I believe sharing the file above constitutes fair use, I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this song from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)

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