14 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It's kind of funny how by emulating the past, Lucinda Williams' first album was ahead of its time. There was no such thing as "alt-country" upon its release in 1979, and Steve Earle's debut Guitar Town didn't come out until 1986. So Ramblin' may or may not be one of the first alt-country albums depending on your definition of the subgenre. More interesting though, is that this collection of country and blues standards shows a then 26-year-old Williams singing with a smoother drawl that had yet to be textured by liquor and smoke. And since her voice is only accompanied by the exquisite guitar work of John Grimaudo, you get an even better sense of what she sang like back then. Williams turns Memphis Minnie's "Me and My Chauffeur" into an even more salacious affair with her seductive cooing of the line, "I want you to be my chauffeur/ I want you to ride me downtown." Her take on Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" is purist's gold, and if you dare to play it through a pair of crummy little speakers, its threadbare elegance could come off sounding like an old 78 platter on a hand-cranked Victrola.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It's kind of funny how by emulating the past, Lucinda Williams' first album was ahead of its time. There was no such thing as "alt-country" upon its release in 1979, and Steve Earle's debut Guitar Town didn't come out until 1986. So Ramblin' may or may not be one of the first alt-country albums depending on your definition of the subgenre. More interesting though, is that this collection of country and blues standards shows a then 26-year-old Williams singing with a smoother drawl that had yet to be textured by liquor and smoke. And since her voice is only accompanied by the exquisite guitar work of John Grimaudo, you get an even better sense of what she sang like back then. Williams turns Memphis Minnie's "Me and My Chauffeur" into an even more salacious affair with her seductive cooing of the line, "I want you to be my chauffeur/ I want you to ride me downtown." Her take on Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" is purist's gold, and if you dare to play it through a pair of crummy little speakers, its threadbare elegance could come off sounding like an old 78 platter on a hand-cranked Victrola.

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