New Trove of Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer Songs Released

Little Blue Egg
Red House 251
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There’s no point in reading any list of greatest songwriters of the 20th century that doesn’t have Dave Carter’s name on it. Carter (1952-2002) hailed from California, but sounded like he came from the Texas Panhandle. His father was a mathematician and his mother a teacher and charismatic Christian. Dave was raised in the bosom of Abraham, but left it to sit at the feet of the Buddha, though many of his songs subtly critiqued evangelicalism whilst fully embracing religious mysticism.
Fans of the three albums Carter made with Tracy Grammer will be delighted to embrace Little Blue Egg, a collection of eleven previously unreleased tracks (though Grammer recorded “Gypsy Rose” on her 2005 Flower of Avalon CD). It would be unfair to call this a fourth Carter and Grammer album as it was cobbled together from home recordings and demo tapes. This means that a few of the tracks feel like homespun in which the raw edges aren’t yet tacked down. Those who saw the duo sing songs such as “Cross of Jesus” know that the arrangements and balance evolved from what is heard on the CD. But, my goodness, could the man turn a phrase. Who has captured the trucker’s life with better lines than these? “God is my witness, poker’s my game/Whiskey’s my poison, forgotten’s my name/And it’s biscuits when I’m hungry and it’s diesel when I’m dry/And it’s 18 wheels of lonesome for the tears you cry. (“Hard Edge of Livin”) The ten original tracks–the collection includes a cover of “Way Down Yonder in the Minor Key”­–traverse the themes for which Carter’s pen earned renown: the open spaces of the land and the heart, love with both sentimentality and hard knocks intact, mythology, redneck preachers, and the fragility of life. Hearing these songs will make you weep for the joy of hearing them and quake from the injustice that such a talent was taken away too soon.
Here’s good 1999 concert footage and interviews with Dave and Tracy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR4YgibqV64
A superb 18 minute video of Tracy from 2012 can be heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrPibOuQf0g

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