by: Thomas D. Mooney
I have this list. It’s a running tally of hypothetical things that I A) I think would be amazing, but B) probably won’t happen for any number of reasons. Every couple of weeks, I’ll elaborate on one. These, they’ll be music related.
Some people believe for something to happen, you must first speak it into existence. It’s probably why LaVar Ball always sounds like a loon. He’s trying oh, so desperately to speak his wishes into existence. I know. It sounds like some kind pseudo-black magic bullshit.
Hopefully, these will be more logical–than say, all three Ball kids making it into the NBA. Still, you’ll see why they’re flawed or even impractical.
This first one has been bouncing around in some form or version for a few years now. The current model is a two-parter: NOT ONE, BUT TWO TERRY ALLEN TRIBUTE ALBUMS. Why two?
You’re probably wondering, why two? Well, they’d go like this:
- Lubbock on Lubbock (on Everything). All 21 tracks from the1979 magnum opus recorded by Lubbock artists.
- Tomorrow’s Tamales: A Tribute to Terry Allen. A traditional tribute of non-Lubbock artists where songs from the Allen catalog excluding Lubbock (on Everything)–that’s the real kicker on here–are up for grabs.
Nearly everyone gets a tribute album made at some point. It’s not that it’s a boring idea or something–but with 1) Allen being the greatest overall artist to come out of Lubbock and 2) with Lubbock (on Everything) being revered by songwriters, musicians, and artists with Lubbock ties, it’s special. It’s its’ own entity. At this point in history, it truly is the Holy Grail in Lubbock Music.
To split up the album, wouldn’t do the 21-song, double-album justice. The only proper way would be to have it done as a single piece. LA socialites, Brooklyn hipsters, and Austin yuppies may disagree, but yes, Lubbock (on Everything) just means more in the Panhandle of Texas. What may be viewed as a novelty piece by the eclectic songwriting visual artist Terry Allen by others, is a series of vignettes and confessions that just hit home Flatlanders.
What would Lubbock on Lubbock (on Everything) look like? Glad you asked. Maybe something like this.
01) “Amarillo Highway (for Dave Hickey)” by Wade Bowen
02) “High Plains Jamboree” by Randall King
03) “The Great Joe Bob (a Regional Tragedy)” by Flatland Cavalry
04) ‘The Wolfman of Del Rio” by Brandon Adams
05) “Lubbock Woman” by Josh Abbott Band
06) “The Girl Who Danced Oklahoma” by Wade Parks
07) “Truckload of Art” Amanda Shires
08) “The Collector (And the Art Mob)” by Daniel Markham
09) “Oui ( A French Song)” by Thrift Store Cowboys
10) “Rendezvous USA” by Ross Cooper
11) “Cocktails For Three” by Benton Leachman
12) “The Beautiful Waitress” by Kenneth O’Meara
13) “High Horse Momma” by No Dry County
14) “Blue Asian Reds (for Roadrunner)” by Dalton Domino
15) “New Delhi Freight Train” by Red Shahan
16) “FFA” by Charlie Stout
17) “Flatland Farmer” by William Clark Green
18) “My Amigo” by Charlie Shafter
19) “The Pink and Black Song” by Rattlesnake Milk
20) “The Thirty Year War Waltz (for Jo Harvey)” by Hogg Maulies
21) “I Just Left Myself” by Veda Moon
Having only artists and bands from these last 15 years is paramount. Allen’s probably more relevant in Lubbock now than at any point in his musical career. These people listen.
It’s a solid mix of established (JAB, Bowen, WCG, Shires), up and comers (Flatland, King, Domino, Shahan), and Lubbock staples (Adams, Parks, Hogg Maulies, Shafter). Kenneth O’Meara, No Dry County, Rattlesnake Milk–well, practically the whole lot (we’re still slowly converting Cleto)–are diehards. They have the insight on why these songs are still as relevant in the Panhandle as the day they were written.
Tomorrow’s Tamales is much like Lubbock on Lubbock (on Everything). in concept. Artists from the modern era of music. For the most part, these folks have either covered Allen in concert, posted about Allen’s work, or folks I’ve had conversations with about Allen. They’re not just darts thrown blindly in the dark. Though, there is a couple who I just think would sound great.
01) “Four Corners” (Juarez) by American Aquarium
02) “Wake of the Red Witch” (Bottom of the World) by Sam Baker
03) “The Heart of California” (Smokin’ The Dummy) by The Band of Heathens
04) “Flatland Boogie” (Human Remains) by John Baumann
05) “There Oughta Be a Law Against Sunny Southern California” (Juarez) by Ryan Bingham
06) “Rio Ticino” (Salivation) by Jason Boland & The Stragglers
07) “X-Mas On the Isthmus” (Salivation) by Kirby Brown
08) “Queenie’s Song (Bottom of the World) by Jonny Burke
09) “The Gift” (Bottom of the World) by Hayes Carll
10) “Gimme a Ride to Heaven Boy” (Bloodlines) by Paul Cauthen
11) “Dogwood” (Juarez) by Ryan Culwell
12) “Boomtown Boogie” (Chippy Soundtrack) by Dirty River Boys
13) “Cortez Sail” (Juarez) by John Fullbright
14) “Gonna California” (Chippy Soundtrack) by J.P. Harris
15) “Red Bird” (Smokin’ the Dummy) by Adam Hood
16) “Ain’t No Top 40 Song” (Salivation) by Jason Isbell
17) “What of Alicia” (Juarez) by Drew Kennedy
18) “The Night Cafe” (Smokin’ the Dummy) by Nikki Lane
19) “Angels of the Wind” (Chippy Soundtrack) by Lori McKenna
20) “Roll Truck Roll” (Smokin’ the Dummy) by Mike & The Moonpies
21) “Texas Tears” (Smokin’ the Dummy) by Old 97’s
22) “Emergency Human Blood Courier” (Bottom of the World) by K. Phillips
23) “Fate With a Capital F” (Chippy Soundtrack) by Margo Price
24) “The Lubbock Tornado (I Don’t Know)” (Smokin’ the Dummy) by Quaker City Night Hawks
25) “Our Land” (Bloodlines) by Reckless Kelly
26) “La Despedida (The Parting)” (Juarez) by Shakey Graves
27) “Cantina Carlotta” (Juarez) by Shinyribs
28) “Buck Naked” (Human Remains) by Shovels & Rope
29) “Southern Comfort” (Salivation) by Sturgill Simpson
30) “Give Me the Flowers” (Salivation) by Chris Stapleton
31) “Border Palace” (Juarez) by Texas Gentlemen
32) “Room to Room” (Human Remains) by Turnpike Troubadours
33) “Gone to Texas” (Human Remains) by Jonathan Tyler
34) “Back to Black” (Human Remains) by Jamie Lin Wilson
Yeah. I guess that ain’t too bad. It’d be a double album–very much in the same vein as the stellar Guy Clark tribute, This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark. In either of these, you could go the route that includes Allen’s contemporaries and it’d be fine. Everyone from Joe Ely, The Maines Brothers Band, and Butch Hancock to Jerry Jeff Walker, Rodney Crowell, and Lucinda Williams would sound great here, but a cohesive coalition of this last wave of artists would be an even bigger statement. Allen’s legacy as a visual artist, songwriter, and playwright is that he’s made timeless art. It’s live and breathing. It’s as refreshing today as it was in ’79, ’89, or ’99.
While most now know Lubbock (on Everything) and Juarez, largely due to their recent reissues, Allen’s back catalog of Smokin’ the Dummy, Bloodlines, Salivation, Human Remains, the soundtrack to Chippy, Bottom of the World, Pedal Steel, etc is plum full of hidden gems, quirky ditties, rocking ramblers, and country ballads. Plenty of room for folks to spread their legs and experiment.
Probably the most intriguing choices would be Jamie Lin Wilson and Turnpike Troubadours–who could easily make both “Room to Room” and “Back to Black” into break-up ballads like their previous collaborative effort, the heart wrenching “Call a Spade a Spade.”
Folks like John Fullbright, Shinyribs, Hayes Carll, Lori McKenna, and Jonathan Tyler could stretch out into directions unlike anyone else involved. You’d want to see the piss and vinegar, grit’n’groove flow on “Gone to Texas” by Tyler. “Cortez Sail” demands attention. As simple as it is, it’s complex with that transition. You almost have to be two artists–not necessarily two-faced–but Fullbright would be able to make an imprint with his solemn, mature delivery.
I could go on and on with reasons why whoever fits here and there. Still, as tempting it is to go on, justifying the likes of Jason Isbell, American Aquarium, Reckless Kelly, etc isn’t needed. They speak for themselves.
What’re the odds these are made? On one hand, I think it’s just a matter of time and money before someone pitches an Allen tribute. Practically everyone gets at least one tribute record one day. Hell–even getting 15 of those recorded and released would be an accomplishment of sorts. Still, Allen deserves more.
On the other, Allen’s work has only really been discovered by “the masses” these past few years. His fanbase has expanded recently, but it’s always been relatively been small in number. So maybe there’s just not been a demand. And tribute albums, in general, aren’t necessarily best sellers. They’re passion projects. It’s a matter of will. And if Tomorrow’s Tamales is a passion project, what’s Lubbock on Lubbock (on Everything)? A nerdy pipe dream passion project?
Even more likely is there ever being TWO tributes set up in such a way. There’s no way Tomorrow’s Tamales participants would want to be involved without the inclusion of some Lubbock (on Everything) songs. And who’d be telling prospective artists like Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson those are off-limits due to Thomas Mooney’s wishes? Not even me. Probably.
But just imagine.
Hypotheticals That Could Happen, But Probably Won’t: Part II will be out soon and will be about concept albums that should be made by various songwriters and bands.