The Flatlanders Album Review

Treasure of Love (Rack’em Records/Thirty Tigers)

The Flatlanders Album Review

Essential workers? Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock toiled through the pandemic, 15-hour days on a chain gang run by Lubbock warden Lloyd Maines, to bring Austin and the world these 15 songs in 51 minutes – their first in a dozen years. Fourth full-length since the trio reconvened at the start of this millennium after famously alchemizing in 1972 to produce sessions later titled More a Legend Than a Band, this Treasure of Love more than lives up to said COVID designation: essential. If forced to listen to one sole Flatlanders disc on your ventilator – take only one album to the leper colony of quarantine – this contemporary compendium reaped from across five decades of the Lubbock diaspora constitutes THE ultimate desert isle disc by triumvirate Ely/Gilmore/Hancock. Better still, Treasure of Love rolls out like a live performance, both in set list and sound. Covers traverse Flatlanders history, while Maines' studio detailing – buzzing solos, sanguine steel (his), glistening acoustics, dobro broad strokes – animate every note. Gilmore caresses Everly Brothers break-in "Long Time Gone," Hancock crystallizes his go-to Townes Van Zandt element "Snowin' on Raton," and Ely copyrights Hancock's "Ramblin' Man" for all time. Dylan from Gilmore ("She Belongs to Me"), an aching Ernest Tubb cheater's lament by Ely ("I Don't Blame You"), and Johnny Cash intoned by Hancock ("Give My Love to Rose") all land as real and true as UFOs (now UAPs) in the Panhandle. Three originals spine Treasure of Love: Hancock's pairing of "Moanin' of the Midnight Train" and bouncing LP sleeper "Mama Does the Kangaroo," and Ely's journeyman "Satin Shoes." The timeless former opens the proceedings alongside a searing six-string end solo by longtime Flatlanders shredder Robbie Gjersoe, while closer "Sittin' on Top of the World" reanimates country blues from the 1920s rollicked by the likes of Bill Monroe and Bob Wills, and rumbled famously by Howlin' Wolf. And let's not overlook a title gemstone penned by a pair of all-time Texans: George Jones and Jiles Perry Richardson Jr., aka the Big Bopper, who went down with Buddy Holly, Lubbock's original flatlander. Perfect in vision, voice, harmony – not to mention timing – Treasure of Love delivers quintessential Flatlanders.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Flatlanders
The Flatlanders: Now It's Now Again
The Flatlanders: Now It's Now Again
West Texas Beatles finally have their tale told

Jim Caligiuri, Oct. 24, 2014

Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, Jan. 29, 2010

More by Raoul Hernandez
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
J Soulja's hip-hop open mic, an Elliott Smith tribute, and more recommended local shows

July 30, 2021

You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
The sun never sets on a newsweekly deadline, but in 27 years on the grind as Chronicle Music editor, a few moments stand out...

July 23, 2021



One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle