Terry Allen’s 1975 debut, Jaurez, is a story of a Texican Badman. It’s a western pastoral told through timeless songs and gentle orchestrations covered in dusty ragweed and a thurderstorm here and there. Here, Allen weaves a finely woven tapestry of American outlaw adventure, sex and violence, with characters ranging from sailors and prostitutes to mad-men and rock-riders. Very few concept albums drum up and maintain the sincerity and reverence that Juarez encapsulates.
In addition to superbly chronicling a story of time, place and blacktop, from San Diego to Juarez (by way of Cortez) , Allen pinpoints feeling, with slow-moving ballads like “Dogwood” and “Honeymoon in Cortez” that envelop the listener in the sensationally bleak daydreams and love affairs on the road while songs like “Border Palace” and “The Radio… and the Road” make clear the emotional restlessness brought on by this criminal journey. The ebb and flow of these conflicting paces imbibes the listener with almost as much anxiety as the characters, and by the middle of the album there is an ineffable craving to get back to Juarez and to leave the asphalt steaming all the way. Because, in the words of the man himself, “Today’s rainbow is tomorrow’s tamale.”
Terry Allen :: Cortez Sail
Terry Allen :: Dogwood