Frisco Mabel Joy

A songwriter’s songwriter and a cult figure’s cult figure, Houston’s Mickey Newbury authored pop and country hits in the late sixties and early seventies, among them “Sweet Memories” and the Elvis Presley stalwart “An American Trilogy.” He’s the sort of artist Texas produces as naturally as oil or running backs. But Newbury is not as renowned as his late friend Townes Van Zandt nor does he have the brooding hipster cred of Lee Hazlewood. In other words, the man deserves a tribute record. Produced by Peter Blackstock, the Austin-bred editor of No Depression magazine, and Chris Eckman of Seattle’s Walkabouts, Frisco Mabel Joy Revisited takes on Newbury’s 1971 solo album cut by cut, resulting in a fresh, graceful experience. Newbury’s songwriting allows for a variety of interpretations, from Dave Alvin’s roadhouse swing through “Mobile Blue” to Midnight Choir’s spookily passionate “An American Trilogy.” David Halley, Michael Fracasso, and Kris Kristofferson compose some of the home-state contingent, with the kicker being a hootenanny version of “How I Love Them Old Songs,” recorded by, among others, Bob Neuwirth, Mambo John Treanor, and members of the Gourds and the Old 97’s.

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