B4 84

B4 84

by Joe ElyJoe Ely


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Joe Ely has always been a maverick, a Texas-born artist who never worried much about the boundaries between country music and rock & roll. However, even Ely's open-minded audience was seriously confused by his 1984 album Hi-Res, in which he livened up his sound with synthesizers and electronic percussion, something that didn't mesh with his image as a champion of traditional Texas music. As it happened, Ely was inspired to make Hi-Res after he'd been given an Apple IIe computer not long after they went on the market, and became fascinated with the possibilities of the machine's music production software. Ely's experiments with the Apple IIe led to him cutting a set of demos that became a dry run for Hi-Res, and B4 84 gives those demos a public hearing for the first time. For those who were put off by the high-tech accents of Hi-Res, B4 84 won't seem like an improvement; the percussion programming is significantly stiffer and more primitive than on Hi-Res, and the keyboard patches will remind you of any number of bad new wave pop albums of the era. But these demos also sound a good bit more stripped down than the tricked-up Hi-Res sessions, and in many way that helps; the contrast of the bright electric guitars and the electronics is more effective in this context, and there is a genuine sense of discovery here, as Ely eagerly tries to fit these new sounds to his rootsy musical approach. Ely's vocals are great, too, and these sides sound fresher and more lively than how Hi-Res turned out. There is also a handful of fine songs here, including "What's Shakin' Tonight," "Cool Rockin' Loretta," "Dame Tu Mano," and two solid numbers that didn't make it onto Hi-Res, "My Baby Thinks She's French" and "You Got the Broken Heart." Hi-Res often sounded like an experiment that didn't entirely succeed, and that judgment applies to B4 84, too, but these raw shots of high-tech honky tonk give a better picture of why Ely believed Hi-Res was an idea worth pursuing, and longtime fans will find this an interesting bit of archaeology.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/01/2014
Label: South Central Music
UPC: 0678572208423
catalogNumber: 6
Rank: 85774


  1. Imagine Houston
  2. You Got the Broken Heart
  3. What's Shakin' Tonight
  4. Ride a Motorcycle
  5. My Baby Thinks She's French
  6. Cool Rockin' Loretta
  7. Dame Tu Mano
  8. Lipstick In the Night
  9. Madame Wo
  10. Isabella

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joe Ely   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Charlie Sexton   Background Vocals
Mitch Watkins   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocal Harmony
Roscoe Beck   Bass Guitar,Vocals
Eddie Beethoven   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Bill Ginn   Keyboards
Davis McLarty   Percussion
Jimmy Pettit   Bass Guitar
Obee   Percussion

Technical Credits

Jimmie Dale Gilmore   Composer
Butch Hancock   Composer
Joe Ely   Composer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Eddie Beethoven   Composer
Sharon Ely   Art Direction
Matt Eskey   Art Direction
Steve Wozniak   Liner Notes
Marie Ely   Art Direction

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