Best Of: Songs from the Street

Best Of: Songs from the Street

by Murray McLauchlanMurray McLauchlan


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Murray McLauchlan is a Canadian songwriter who has been recording since 1971, and is a contemporary of Bruce Cockburn's without the Christian or political trappings. That's not a knock on Cockburn, it's just that the two have been labelmates since the beginning (True North), and Cockburn has gotten the lion's share of attention by far. This double-disc, 36-cut retrospective reveals the truth of the matter: Murray McLauchlan is a genius, a treasure, a writer of such uncommon wealth and literacy, bare bones life experience, and storyteller's drama, that he is in the class that belongs to Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Cisco Houston, or Tom T. Hall -- though he doesn't sound remotely like any of them, and doesn't even play country music. McLauchlan is more of an acquired taste, but he's also far more diverse. He has been able to do it all, as evidenced by this excellent collection of tracks issued between 1971-2005. McLauchlan is his own hybrid of the very best: Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon, and a young and angry Billy Joel who has Loudon Wainwright's wit. Add to this the droll cool of Paul Simon and you begin to get the picture, but it's a shifting one, mercurial, because McLauchlan is his own guy, and the referents used here are merely for the purpose of illuminating a potential listener: check the song samples! The bottom line is that McLauchlan never spent a ton of money on the production of his records. They are all immediate, full of the ambience of the studio, and they communicate very directly. His reedy voice is obsessed with the tunes he writes and he writes about it all: living on the street, desolation, drunken joy, money, class, travel, rather quirky love songs, the whole bit. But the bottom line is this: he is one of those guys who is so utterly deserving of being noticed he needs his very own Devendra Banhart persona to hold his records up to the crowds of kids and say, "Hey, check this guy out; he's awesome!" It worked for Vashti Bunyan, but McLauchlan may be a little closer to the street in his language and attitude, not so hippy-dippy and more a harsh reality. But he's not dour, not even desolate when the songs are; in fact, his music, as this amazing collection suggests, is so full of the absolute marrow of life that it's impossible not to be completely taken with his work once you encounter it. There is no point going into any of the individual tracks on this collection because they're all good, and his cover version of "Carmelita" by Zevon is the best version on the shelf. Period. Anybody who appreciates great songwriters needs to dig into this man's work -- and if you like vinyl, head to your local dirty hands budget bin because most of his '70s albums can be found there on wax. If anyone is due for rediscovery it's Murray McLauchlan, and this collection, if anyone ever gets to hear it, is the evidence.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/16/2007
Label: True North
UPC: 0620638050026
catalogNumber: 500
Rank: 55247


Disc 1

  1. Honky Red
  2. Child's Song
  3. Sixteen Lanes of Highway
  4. Old Man's Song
  5. Carmelita
  6. Farmer's Song
  7. You Need a New Lover Now
  8. Golden Trumpet
  9. Revelations
  10. Down by the Henry Moore
  11. Shoeshine Workin' Song
  12. Maybe Tonight
  13. Do You Dream of Being Somebody
  14. Sweeping the Spotlight Away
  15. Cross Country
  16. So Far from You
  17. Harder to Get Along

Disc 2

  1. On the Boulevard
  2. Train Song
  3. As Lonely as You
  4. Hard Rock Town
  5. Whispering Rain
  6. Little Dreamer
  7. Playin' Your Emotions
  8. Try Walkin' Away
  9. Into a Mystery
  10. Don't Put Your Faith in Men
  11. If the Wind Could Blow My Troubles Away
  12. Never Did Like That Rain
  13. Red River Flood
  14. Out Past the Timberline
  15. Love with a Capital L
  16. Swinging on a Star
  17. Burned out Car
  18. No Change in Me
  19. Path of the Moon

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Murray McLauchlan   Primary Artist,Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Bottleneck Guitar
Bruce Cockburn   Guitar,Background Vocals
Jordanaires   Background Vocals
Warren Bernhardt   Keyboards
Bill Champlin   Vocals
Lloyd Green   Pedal Steel Guitar
Eric Weissberg   Mandolin
Patrick Godfrey   Piano
Barney Bentall   Background Vocals
Jorn Andersen   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Adele Armin   Strings
Paul Armin   Strings
Richard Armin   Strings
Cross   Drums
Ron Dann   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Bob Disalle   Drums
Maxine Dixon   Vocals
Bob Ezrin   Percussion,Conductor,Keyboards,Vocals
Bernie Finkelstein   Background Vocals
Barry Flast   Piano
Peter Follet   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Danny Greenspoon   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,6-string bass
Allan "Jake" Jacobs   Background Vocals
Neil Jason   Bass,Vocals
Kit Johnson   Bass,6-string bass,5-string Bass
Barry Keane   Percussion,Drums
Raun MacKinnon   Background Vocals
Gene Martynec   Guitar
Mike McKenna   Guitar,Slide Guitar
Ben Mink   Fiddle,Mandolin,Violin,Viola,Background Vocals,Mandola
Andy Newmark   Percussion,Drums
Chris Parker   Drums
Dennis Pendrith   Bass,Harmony
Colina Phillips   Background Vocals
Carole Pope   Vocals
Paul Prestopino   Dobro
Catherine Smith   Harmony
Ollie Strong   Pedal Steel Guitar
Jay Telfer   Drums
Terry Wilkins   Bass,Background Vocals
William Richards   Strings
Cameron Wilson   Violin
Richard Kollgore   Drums
Larry Kraman   Synthesizer
Jaak Liivoja   Strings
Finn Manniche   Cello
Harry Skura   Strings
Charlie Hayward   Bass
Chris Skene   Background Vocals
Shawne Jackson   Vocals,Background Vocals
Angelique Toews   Violin
Bucky Berger   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Sharon Lee Williams   Vocals,Background Vocals
Kathleen Whelan   Background Vocals
Eric Robertson   Organ,Piano
Tom Wilson   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Murray McLauchlan   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Barney Bentall   Producer
Rick Hart   Engineer,Remixing
Roy Cicala   Engineer
Frank Davies   Executive Producer
Jack Douglas   Engineer
Bob Ezrin   Arranger,Producer,Engineer,Remixing
Dennis Ferrante   Engineer
Bernie Finkelstein   Producer
Tom Flye   Engineer
Ed Freeman   Producer
Ken Friesen   Engineer
Allan MacMillan   Arranger,Orchestration
Gene Martynec   Producer
Rick McCollister   Engineer
David McKinley   Engineer
Jay Messina   Engineer
Colin Nairne   Producer
John Naslen   Engineer
Bill Seddon   Engineer
Warren Zevon   Composer
Ron Hynes   Composer
Finn Manniche   Arranger,String Conductor
John Rosenthal   Engineer,Remixing
Henry Saskowski   Engineer
Nicholas Jennings   Liner Notes
Vezi Tayyeb   Engineer
Chris Skene   Engineer
Pete Wonsiak   Engineer
Alan Rhody   Composer
Eric Robertson   String Arrangements
Tom Wilson   Composer

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