Terry Allen

The Silent Majority (Sugar Hill)

Phases and Stages

Terry Allen

The Silent Majority (Sugar Hill)

Terry Allen's vast artistic oeuvre spans so many media it's astonishing he can focus on one: music, video, graphic arts, theatre, film, and literature. With 1978's Lubbock (on Everything), Allen became one of Texas' premier songwriters, covered by Bobby Bare and Little Feat, and collaborating with David Byrne, Guy Clark, and Lucinda Williams. All this – not to mention three NEA grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship – make Allen a formidable talent. Appropriately subtitled Terry Allen's Greatest Missed Hits, this must-have collection tidily sums up his under-the-radar career in 16 tracks. The Silent Majority pulls its perfectly realized songs from disparate sources such as outtakes ("High Horse Momma"), dance and stage productions ("Oh Tired Feet," "Yo Ho Ho," "Home on the Range"), films ("Cocktail Desperado" from True Stories, "The Burden" from Amerasia). He's added other cuts with wonderful orchestration from Bob Livingston and some remarkably talented musicians from India ("New Delhi Freight Train," "Big Ol' White Boys"). Separately, all the tracks are little gems, some polished, some rougher edged. Together with the recent reissue of Amerasia and Juarez, they form a glittering diadem that rests somewhat crookedly on Terry Allen's acerbic-eyed, sharp-tongued, most unusual head.

****

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