Sunday, April 08, 2007

Cowboy Junkies "The Trinity Session" 1988

Cowboy Junkies
The Trinity Session
Release Date 1988
Recording Date Nov 27, 1987
Label RCA
Time 52:36
Review by Thom Jurek
Who says you can't make a great record in one day — or night, as the case may be? The Trinity Session was recorded in one night using one microphone, a DAT recorder, and the wonderful acoustics of the Holy Trinity in Toronto. Interestingly, it's the album that broke the Cowboy Junkies in the United States for their version of "Sweet Jane," which included the lost verse. It's far from the best cut here, though. There are other covers, such as Margo Timmins' a cappella read of the traditional "Mining for Gold," a heroin-slow version of Hank Williams' classic "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Dreaming My Dreams With You" (canonized by Waylon Jennings), and a radical take of the Patsy Cline classic "Walkin' After Midnight" that closes the disc. Those few who had heard the band's previous album, Whites Off Earth Now!!, were aware that, along with Low, the Cowboy Junkies were the only band at the time capable of playing slower than Neil Young and Crazy Horse — and without the ear-threatening volume. The Timmins family — Margo, guitarist and songwriter Michael, drummer Peter, and backing vocalist and guitarist John — along with bassist Alan Anton and a few pals playing pedal steel, accordion, and harmonica, paced everything to crawl.
That said, it works in that every song has its own texture, slowly and deliberately unfolding from blues and country and drones. An example is the Michael and Margo song "I Don't Get It," ushered in with a few drawling guitar lines, a spooky harmonica, and brushed drums. Margo Timmins doesn't have a large range and doesn't need it as she scratches each song's surface like an itch until it bleeds its truth. This is also true on "Misguided Angel," another original where the verses become nearly a round alternating between her voice and Michael's snaky spare guitar lines to fill an almost unimaginable space. The Williams tune becomes a dirge in the Cowboys' hands. It's a funeral song, or an elegy for one who has dragged herself so far into the oblivion of isolation that there is no place left to go but home. Michael's guitar moves around the changes as bassist Anton plays them; he colors the space allowing for Margo to fill the melodic space spot-on, yet stretching each syllable out to the breaking point. For most, this was the Cowboy Junkies' debut — Whites Off Earth Now!! was re-released in the States a few years later — and it established them firmly in the forefront of the "alternative" scene with radio and MTV. As an album, it's still remarkable at how timeless it sounds, and its beauty is — in stark contrast to its presentation — voluminous and rich, perhaps even eternal.
1 Mining for Gold Traditional 1:34
2 Misguided Angel Timmins, Timmins 4:58
3 Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis) Hart, Rodgers, Timmins ... 4:31
4 I Don't Get It Timmins, Timmins 4:34
5 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Williams 5:24
6 To Love Is to Bury Timmins, Timmins 4:47
7 200 More Miles Timmins 5:29
8 Dreaming My Dreams With You Reynolds 4:28
9 Working on a Building Traditional 3:48
10 Sweet Jane Reed 3:41
11 Postcard Blues Timmins 3:28
12 Walkin' After Midnight Block, Hecht 5:54

MP3 192 kBpS
  • Cowboy Junkies "The Trinity Sessions"

    Blogger jay strange said...

    have to agree with you about this album being their finest yet..which is saying something when one considers how great the other albums are. your mention of tusk brought a smile to my face...not only because its great but because the recorded back in whenever story was in fact a cover story to hide the fact that what actually happened is after the cracker/camper traveling apothicary tour of 99 the band entered the studio and recorded tusk just to find out if they still had the chemistry together...they used the story of finding the long lost mastertape in greg lishers parents wardrobe to take the pressure off them and well just for fun really......what people often dont realise is for all those years while cvb were dormant and after the brilliant monks of doom were gone victor krummenacher and jonathan segel produced many brilliant albums of their own via their label magnetic. victor is a brilliant songwriter in his own right and all his solo album are essentual stuff. he has just launched his own site to coinside with the release of his new album..the cock crows at sunrise and if you head over here
    to the download page theres not only four outtakes from the album but a brilliant radio show performance from a couple of weeks ago with his band that included both jonathan and greg lisher from cvb and greg kaplin from american music club.....go check it out its essentual stuff

    6:43 AM  
    Blogger humppazoid said...

    Thank You for comment - it's rare thing in our days:)
    btw - most of reviews in my blog taken from allmusic and have authors name in header :) I was semi-fan of Camper Van Beethoven from 89 - semi, because have read one very good article about them in first russian rockzine, but was unable to get any of their records up to middle of the 90ies - it was sealed Key Lime Pie LP and it was good. May be You have some Monk of Doom to share:)

    2:59 PM  
    Blogger Elisabeth said...

    oops.... error link @RS

    7:01 PM  

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