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Charlie Feathers - Long Time Ago LP


Recent reissue.

Norton Records

Long Time Ago is the third in a series of collections of rare and unreleased recordings from Memphis rockabilly icon Charlie Feathers (issued by the noted Feathers fans at Norton Records), and the third time seems to be the charm, as this wins a narrow victory as the best disc in the set. Like its siblings Wild Side of Life and Honky Tonk Kind, Long Time Ago is drawn from a broad range of sources, and demonstrates that Feathers could play with style, confidence, and vision in a variety of styles -- slow, almost doom-struck country weepers ("It's Just That Song"), old-style hillbilly boogie ("Frankie and Johnny"), moody rural folk ("South of Chicago"), crazy rockabilly ("Why Don't You" and "Jungle Fever," the latter of which sounds equally bent in two very different arrangements), and swinging approximations of the Sun Records sound he always insisted was his creation ("That's All Right," which doesn't stand up to Elvis Presley's version but proves that Feathers wasn't as far from the mark as many like to suggest). Long Time Ago also suffers from the same flaws as the other compilations in this series -- while Michael Hurtt's liner notes offer a fine portrait of Feathers and his career, they offer no clear guide as to when and where this stuff was recorded (and where some was previously released), and while Feathers' eclecticism was one of his great gifts, the stylistic shapeshifting of this set is a little disconcerting at times. But Long Time Ago flows better than the other discs in the series, and features some of the best and most impressive music -- the weird, snaky rock & roll revision of "Knoxville Girl" and the melodic purity of "I Lose My Mind" are remarkable stuff that merit a listen all by themselves, and there's a lot more that's just as impressive on Long Time Ago.

  1. Jungle Fever 2:43
  2. Frankie And Johnny 2:56
  3. She's Gone 3:24
  4. That's All Right 2:18
  5. It's Just That Song 2:29
  6. Why Don't You 2:25
  7. Knoxville Girl 3:58
  8. I Lose My Mind 2:19
  9. Jungle Fever 3:48
  10. Long Time Ago 3:20
  11. I Want To Love You 2:43
  12. Will You Be Satisfied That Way 2:36
  13. Folsom Prison Blues 3:11
  14. We're Getting Closer To Being Apart 1:50
  15. South Of Chicago 2:42
  16. Mound Of Clay 4:35