The Dawg Years (Fat Possum)
Reviewed by Lee Nichols, Fri., Aug. 13, 2010
Blaze FoleyThe Dawg Years (Fat Possum)
Check under your couch cushions – if you ever knew the late Blaze Foley during his lifetime, there might be yet more lost recordings down there. Reviewed here last month was Sittin' by the Road (see "Texas Platters," July 16), a collection of homemade Foley recordings lost for years in a friend's house, and hot on its heels comes this rough collection of reel-to-reels from the back of a different closet in another house. For Foleyists, this 1975-78 collection is an even better find than Sittin', no less than eight songs not found on other recordings. Not all are jewels – there's a reason some were dropped from his repertoire – but others showcase a songwriter in his mid-20s (using the moniker Deputy Dawg, real name Michael David Fuller) with a surprisingly developed compositional sense. "You'll Get Yours Aplenty" demonstrates his concern for the poor early on, and "I Should Have Been Home" and "Livin' in the Woods in a Tree" are touching love songs to then-girlfriend Sybil Rosen, presumably present at the house of Bill and Margery Bouris when recorded. That living room picking session quality wouldn't work for just any artist, but with Foley, it's all the more reason these tapes should be released. If anyone can pull off the "campfire sessions" approach à la Michelle Shocked, it's the anti-slick Foley. Rather than eliminate the babbling baby in the background – young Basil Bouris, who wrote the liner notes – Rick Rowe left the coos, which add to the charm, when he mastered the tapes. Foley made an excellent, well-produced studio album during his brief life, but if you really want the essence of the Duct Tape Messiah – sometimes tender, sometimes comically full of shit – this might be the better purchase.