Lucinda Williams (from the album Lucinda WIlliams) - Lucinda Williams began her recording career on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Her output for the label was two albums, Ramblin’ (1979) and Happy Woman Blues (1980), both acoustic folk/blues. Lucinda as a tender folkie surrounded by gentle acoustic instrumentation did not catch traction at radio or with fans.When she moved away covering songs traditional to the genre and into writing her own material, the sound joined with the style of other delta musicians that had gone before the Lafayette, Louisiana born singer.
Lucinda had been playing live since her early 20’s with shows on the Austin and Houston folk circuit mixing the folk, blues and country hybrid found on her first albums. She moved to Jackson, Mississippi to record her pair of Smithsonian Folkways albums. In the 1980’s Lucinda moved her address and her sound west, relocating to Los Angeles.
The L.A. move changed Lucinda’s back-up. Her stages were still on the folk circuit but her backing was a rock’n’roll band. The west coast club version of Dylan at Newport worked well for Lucinda and she started to develop a following from both fans and press. The pairing of her lines against a harder-edged sound was the match that lit a flame for Lucinda’s career. She recorded her debut for Rough Trade Records in 1988 under her own name, branding her sound as home grown, and standing behind the decision by claiming the newly plowed Americana landscape as her own.
Lucinda Williams, produced by Gurf Morlix, was well received. As of an accounting in 2000, the album has sold over 100,000 copies. Often referred to as “The Rough Trade” album for the U.K. label that released the record, Lucinda Williams has been out of print for ten years. The new package includes a remastered version of the original master recordings, missing for over twenty years. The package features a bonus disc containing an unreleased 1989 live concert recorded in Eindhoven, Netherlands and six previously released live bonus tracks. The record hosts a number of Lucinda Williams standards such as “Changed the Locks”, covered by Tom Petty and “Passionate Kisses”, covered by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The Lucinda Williams version of her tune “Passionate Kisses” is a template for the future hit of Mary Chapin Carpenter. The track became a Country hit for the singer and garnered Lucinda her first Grammy for Best Country Song. Lucinda Williams has a Zydeco music bed lead a southern girl back home via “Crescent City”. The song, later covered by Emmylou Harris on her Cowgirl’s Prayer album, sees homecoming as lots of dancing and tagging along with siblings ‘cause ‘my brother knows where all the best bars are’. There is a freedom to the songs on Lucinda Williams. It could have been the change in location or the style switch. Certainly a rock’n’roll backing is a perfect complement to her words and the rock attitude that Lucinda’s wears like faded jeans…..a natural fit.
“The Night’s Too Long” name checks Sylvia as the character driving the song. The story tells of a small town waitress saving tips to buy the wheels that help her find an exit. She is hunting for something to make her feel alive and she is ‘tired of these small town boys, they don’t move fast enough…I’m gonna find me one who wears a leather jacket and likes his living rough.’ As the song follows Sylvia to a town where the night has no end the story mirrors the sonic changes that were happening in the music of Lucinda Williams.
Lucinda Williams (Deluxe Edition) celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the course changing album. It captures not only Lucinda Williams as she shifts direction for her music but re-fires the shot heard around the world for Americana music.