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Articles & Reviews
Hey, one's enough. The following is a nice article and a review from... Twangin'! On-Line
Actually, 'twas about Jim Silvers and Larry Hosford, but ol' Jim's glowing review has been axed here 'cause this is my site. Sorry, bud. Anyway, this fella seems to like my stuff, a slant I greatly prefer in this sort of journalism, and his version of my first two LPs is as good a summation as I've ever run across. Check it out.
Undiscovered Country: Larry Hosford
By Paul E. Comeau
Larry Hosford is a singer who has quite a bit in common with Jim Silvers. He was also an artist based in California who recorded two wonderful albums of very original country songs before disappearing from the recording scene. Like Silvers, he is also the type of artist who quickly evokes a smile in the listener. Both Hosford albums appeared on the Shelter label (the same label that released Willis Alan Ramsey's only album). The first one, called "a.k.a. Lorenzo" (SRL-52018) and released in 1974, was produced by Dino Airali in three different California studios and in Bradley's Barn in Tennessee. No photos of the artist appear on the cover. The artwork instead consists of a painting of a cowboy and his horse under the moonlight. Musicians featured on the album include a few well-known figures from Nashville and label-mate Leon Russell as guest pianist on a few songs, as well as a few lesser-known musicians and some great back-up harmony singers, most notably Ann Hughes.
Hosford is not a hard-core country singer, but rather like a more countrified John Prine. Like Silvers, Hosford doesn't take long to win over the listener. All of his material is original. The first two songs, Long Distance Kisses and The King Takes the Queen, have catchy melodies with whimsical lyrics. Singers and Dancers is a slow ballad with wonderful piano by Russell. Long Line To Chicago is a trucker's song. Ode To A Broken Coleus is quite possibly the saddest, most heart-felt song to a plant ever written. The 1 to Ten Scale is another one of his songs that is full of witty word-play and bittersweet vocals. An example of Hosford's way with words is found in Wimmin's Got Me Swimmin'. The song starts off with amusing metaphors:
Wimmin's got me swimmin' in a pool of tears,
My baby's got me started and she won't shift my gears,
The lights on lover's freeway all say stop,
If I had another beer I'd pop its top.
My love's so big it's semi-like a diesel truck,
But on the road of heartaches I just got stuck,
Love's an endless battle and I lost the bout,
She played the game of stud but she dealt me out.
In 1976 Hosford released another album, called "Crosswords" (Shelter SRL-52003). Production and back-up musicians were more or less the same as on the first album. Once again his voice complements the bittersweet material very nicely. On the slow ballad, Hosford sings as if he has a lump in his throat and there is often a skewed perspective which is simultaneously poignant and funny. The song titles are again reflective of his original approach: Why I Spend So Much Time in the Bars, If I Could Talk as Fast as I Think, Last Chance Romance, Nobody Remembers the Losers, and She Went Back Home to Her Momma. The instrumentation is not always typically country. On Direct Me and Wishing I Could, Leon Russell and George Harrison help out. The latter song also features the musical saw. Another song features saxophonist Tom Scott.
The title of "Crosswords" refers to four brief songs snippets interwoven amongst the other material. Each brief "crossword" segment is similar musically and follows a similar pattern. The singer looks for a short word which defines his predicament, such as in Crossword #3:
There's a crossword puzzle puzzling me,
What's a synonym for speechless supposed to be?
Like the way I'm left whenever she comes undone,
So tight inside that the cat can't find my tongue,
Starts with a "d" and ends with a "b",
Looks like "dumb" to me,
Crossword puzzle is that right?
She struck me dumb and run off in the night.
Larry Hosford's albums have been unavailable for quite some time now. On the other hand, his albums are a little easier to find used than the original albums by Jim Silvers. It is to be hoped that both singers decide to come out of the shadows and back into the studio before too long.
Paul E. Comeau is a French-Candian journalist
Well, Monsieur Comeau, I don't know about ol' Jim but I have done just that. In addition to "aka Lorenzo" and "Crosswords", my third CD, "Right On Time", is available right here. The same goes for the fourth, "Windjammin'", recorded at Music Arts Recording Studios (MARS) in Santa Cruz and released by Asteroid Records. It's pretty spacey stuff. Oh, not really -- just jivin'. I like to keep it close to the ground. Sorta.
For more information on any of these items, just send an e-mail here. You can find a better look at the CDs, song titles, etc., on this site's Music page. Which is to say: