Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Willy Mason & Manassas

Let's continue Monday's 'Tunes to fill your Pod of Justice' theme with an old'un and a new'un.
First, the old'un. A friend of mine found out I was partial to the work of the Laurel Canyon kids from the late 60s/early 70s, especially CSNY. He asked me whether I knew much about Manassas, Stephen Stills side project with Byrd member Chris Hillman. I told him I knew of them but had never really had the chance to listen to their work. A few days later he handed me a CD-R with the groups two studio albums, Manassas and Down The Road, plus a collection of live recordings from the German television show from that era, MusikLaden. The self titled debut is by far the better affair, with a diverse range of styles coming together to produce a free flowing album. Listening to it as whole, you can tell that each musician involved was fully committed, and for Stills it's arguably his best work on record outside of CSNY.

Manassas - Song Of Love from Manassas (available here)

BONUS: Rock & Roll Crazies/Cuban Bluegrass (live on MusikLaden)

Now for the new'un. Sure, it's polished as hell, but the new Willy Mason album refuses to budge from the stereo at the moment. It's certainly not as strong as his debut, but certain tracks on When The Ocean Gets Rough show that he's certainly not just a one trick pony, such as this one. The upcoming single version has apparently been 'retouched' with backing vocals from KT Tunstall, but the album version (below) with Rosanne Cash just seems to have more warmth.

Willy Mason - We Can Be Strong

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