Rare Singles and Previously Unreleased Masters, Vol. 1

Rare Singles and Previously Unreleased Masters, Vol. 1

If you didn’t grab these songs via the 15 bonus tracks included on a very limited reissue of Jim Ford’s Harlan County, they’re now available here. Recorded, mixed, and left off the final sequence of Ford’s first album, some of these gems shine brighter than those that made the final cut. A slower version of “Big Mouth USA” opens, sounding like the swampy simmer of Bobby Charles’ debut album, before “Chain Gang” brings back Ford’s signature twang-funk. “She Turns My Radio On” is a stronger, slower version of “He Turns My Radio On” from Big Mouth USA: The Unissued Paramount Album; it's replete with that crazy cool percussion sounding like someone is somehow playing the spoons with their mouth. The Sly Stone–inspired “Mixed Green” turns up here, too. This version plays as though somebody let Van Morrison jam with The Family Stone. The album’s jewel is a weepy honky-tonker awesomely titled “Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer,” in which Ford croaks: “Say come on back here baby and mess with my mind a little while.”

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