Dolorean's Al James chooses melancholy

Al James

Here is a selection of loner folk in honor of our new Dolorean album, The Unfazed, out tomorrow on Partisan Records.

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Ted Lucas, “Plain & Sane & Simple Melody”

This is the opening track of one the best folk re-issues of recent times. Yoga Records did a fantastic job of re-releasing and packaging this album that is referred to as “The Om Album.” Lucas was in a number of Michigan bands back in the 60s and 70s including the Misty Wizards, Horny Toads, and the Boogie Disease. He doubles his voice and sings his own harmonies to great effect. Any of the tracks on the A side of this album could be on this list – “It's So Easy,” “It Is So Nice To Get Stoned,” or “Now That I Know.”

Bob Desper, “Lonely Man”


This track is pulled from Desper's New Sounds album that was re-issued on LP by Discourage Records. He's bounced around Oregon most of his life and currently lives about an hour south of Portland in Albany. Aside from being a huge fan of his music, I've been lucky enough to be Bob's rhythm guitar player when he plays live. This album (and track) typifies the isolated and solitary mood of all the selections on this list. Bob's tunes are often veiled in sadness, but there's always a spiritual bent that I think is cool.

Sibylle Baier, “I Lost Something In The Hills”


I can't imagine a more heartbreaking song and melody than this track by Sibylle Baier. Not only does she have one of the most pure voices, her simple guitar playing is always perfectly understated. I borrowed the line “…and only the slopes gave me hope” for a song title and inspiration on our latest Dolorean album. It's so honest, so naive and pure; this is one of those albums that I share with everyone I meet.

Tim Hardin, “If I Were A Carpenter”


Lots of folks have covered this song over the years (Johnny Cash, Harry Chapin, etc…) but Hardin's version is still the best. His voice is weary and soft, but tough. He's buried in a cemetery near where I grew up (Silverton, OR) in Turner, Oregon. His entire second album is flawless. I always felt like others sort of missed the point of the song and played it like a love song, but Hardin's performance reveals the shortcomings of the singer, it's more raw and exposed, more honest.

Michael Hurley, “Werewolf”


Flat out, Hurley is a legend – a beautiful, stubborn man who still tours extensively throughout the US and Europe. This is one of his first songs from Armchair Boogie. It's a dirge-y lament on being the lonely Werewolf. Mississippi Records in Portland, Oregon has been re-issuing a lot of his early albums lately and I think everyone is worth seeking out. Nobody balances the joy and the sorrow like Hurley.

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