Search This Blog

Saturday, May 19, 2007

O Canada

I'm sure I would have liked this record if I'd just come across it on CD, but I love it for its record-ness. Jesse Winchester came from Louisiana and escaped to Canada to avoid the draft during the Vietnam war. The cover of his first record, which came out in 1970, made him look as if he were escaping conscription into the army of Robert E. Lee. Bizarrely, it's on the Ampex label. Robbie Robertson produced it. It's one of the best half dozen things he ever did. On the face of it this song is a straightforward bucolic fantasy. However he leaves her in the end because he can't help doing the wrong thing. Until this week I hadn't played the vinyl for thirty years. I can't tell you how good it sounds.


  1. bit of quality, that...

  2. Hmmm - works the other way too, if with less ostensible profundity: when I finally dumped vinyl for CDs in the mid 90s [yeah, that late - ha ha] it coincided with a decision to start investigating relatively contemporaneous 'melodic rock' meisters such as Matthew Sweet and the American Music Club; when at some quite later date I beheld a vinyl version of Sweet's great '100% Fun' album it was almost 'cognitive dissonance' time - it was almost 'inconceivable' in that format - everything 'represented' [cue all that Semiotics stuff I never fully grasped, anyway - lol] by the 12 inch format seemed wrong and
    kinda... Mmmm... 'impotent' really, for want of a better term. Yeah, I know how pretentious that sounds, but that's how it struck me - the 'medium' [not to say capacity] of the vinyl seemed a poor alternative 'vehicle' to the CD I knew.

    But there isn't any arguing with those old American sleeves - the 'old fashioned' way the things were constructed [no Clarifoil for a start, ho ho - a 'modern' touch you'd've thought more likely on the other side of the Atlantic]and the very quality of the cardboard itself added a peculiarly anachronistic quality to the sleeves, even when it wasn't some dude faux time warping as on your Winchester cover - always struck me as being curiously at odds with 'The Now Sound That's Really Happening' presumably contained within the vinyl.
    Well, having stated the obvious yet again, I hit that button and depart...

  3. Cracking tune David. Thanks.

    However, Mississippi You're On My Mind is still my fave.


  4. Anonymous4:37 pm

    Thank you for prompting me to dig out this wonderous album. Haven't heard it in years, don't have a CD copy to compare but the vinyl is sounding just fine.