11 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The son of Lonesome Dove novelist Larry McMurtry, Texas songwriter James McMurtry immediately established himself with his 1989 debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland, as a terse, concise singer and writer with a well-stoked sense of alienation and personal conflict amongst familiar small town surroundings. John Mellencamp took on the production duties and grabbed his own powerhouse drummer Kenny Aronoff to pile drive these songs into the dirt. From the opening crush of “Paint By Numbers,” McMurtry comes off like a rural Lou Reed, reeling off sarcastic one-liners in deadpan voice while the band electrify the pose and the female back-up singers sweeten the hardline. The bluesy longing of the title track and the sweet country harmonies of “Angeline” further soften the edges. But McMurtry’s biting wit ensures he sneaks in the last laugh. (“I’m not from here / but people tell me it’s not like it used to be / they say I should’ve been here / back about ten years / before it got ruined by folks like me”).

EDITORS’ NOTES

The son of Lonesome Dove novelist Larry McMurtry, Texas songwriter James McMurtry immediately established himself with his 1989 debut album, Too Long in the Wasteland, as a terse, concise singer and writer with a well-stoked sense of alienation and personal conflict amongst familiar small town surroundings. John Mellencamp took on the production duties and grabbed his own powerhouse drummer Kenny Aronoff to pile drive these songs into the dirt. From the opening crush of “Paint By Numbers,” McMurtry comes off like a rural Lou Reed, reeling off sarcastic one-liners in deadpan voice while the band electrify the pose and the female back-up singers sweeten the hardline. The bluesy longing of the title track and the sweet country harmonies of “Angeline” further soften the edges. But McMurtry’s biting wit ensures he sneaks in the last laugh. (“I’m not from here / but people tell me it’s not like it used to be / they say I should’ve been here / back about ten years / before it got ruined by folks like me”).

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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

lionsfanscott ,

Great Album

This is the best album I own. James McMurtry's albums all seem to improve with repeated listenings--his lyrics take time to digest. McMurtry's ability to express deep meaning in few words is astounding to me. "Painting By Numbers" is the song that inspired me to buy the album (since it was on the radio) but I grew to love the others much more that that one. Among my favorites: "Shining Eyes", "I'm Not From Here", "Crazy Wind", and "Too Long in the Wasteland". McMurtry has certainly grown in his later works (he's not just a songwriter, but a talented guitarist, too), but I still love his first effort most.

nussie'sdude ,

pure gold 26 years on

some things just take time

JPKHERD ,

I would take this if I got stuck on an island.

Think about how much that means. There is so much great music over the last 60 years. I think this is good enough to make my top ten. I was a senior in college. Listening to a lot of Hiatt, Steve Earle and John Prine. This CD (although I still call it an album) snuck out with not a lot of fanfare and quickly made into heavy rotation of my mix tapes. For you youngsters playing at home, this was the day when skill and patience made for a great playlist, not how much you could steal off the internet! My others.....of course Bring The Family, Rush 2112, Singles Soundtrack. I would have to think about the others. In summary, this is worth adding to your collection.

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