52 Authors: A Nudge
52 Authors, Week 5: Henri de Lubac

Lyle Lovett: Pontiac

Lyle Lovett has made some fine music over the years, and I haven't heard all of it, but I'm doubtful that he's produced another album as consistently good as this one, his first second. I had forgotten how good it is until yesterday, when I listened to it on the way over and back to watch a Mardi Gras parade. Except for the disappointing last track, "She's Hot to Go", which is about as lightweight and crass as the title suggests, every song is top-notch, both lyrically and musically. Moreover, the recorded sound has a warmth and depth which seems to be missing from most recordings of the past fifteen or twenty years (Pontiac is from the mid-'80s). 

I seem to recall there being some confusion about exactly how to take Lovett when he first appeared. Was he country? Sort of, but jazzy, too. Was he being ironic all the time, or only sometimes? Was he serious, or a humorist? He was definitely off the beaten track lyrically, which is established with the first track, "If I Had a Boat":


I can't resist quoting this great bit from "She's No Lady", though it's much better when he sings it:

The preacher asked her
And she said I do
The preacher asked me
And she said yes he does too
And the preacher said
I pronounce you 99 to life
Son she's no lady, she's your wife.

And yet the album contains serious and moving songs such as the title one, a brief and troubling portrait that recalls Tom Waits. 


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I love that record too. There's nothing else quite like it. There are a couple of really good "story songs" on it: "Give Back My Heart" and (on the other side of the coin?) "LA County". "Simple Song" is a favourite. In fact, I even sort of like "She's Hot To Go," which, though it is crass, is also pretty funny. "Ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly!"

I really like that album. I love the boat song (except that I think it's very unfair to the Lone Ranger). ;-)

"Simple Song" is one of my favorites, but I'm not really sure what some of it is about.

I was going to say the "Walk Through the Bottomland" is my favorite (well, it has Emmylou), but then I think "I Loved You Yesterday." I could probably go on and on.


I really like Joshua Judges Ruth too.


I liked that song.

Then there's this:


The first time I ever saw, or heard, or heard of Lyle Lovett was on Austin City Limits and he was singing this. I really wasn't sure what to think about it. ;-)


I remember having the same reaction. I think it's really just a somewhat over-long joke. JJR is a good album, though.

I like that one, too, Louise. I guess it's become very meaningful to you.:-)

I admit, Craig, I laughed at "She was ugly from the front." And it is catchy. Still, I wish the album ended on something better.

Seeing him sing that song (she's hot to go) with Francine Reed many years ago is one of so many highlights of seeing him in concert 10+ times over the years. At then end when he says "this girl was so ugly" Francine turned to him and said, "well, you ugly too!" And with a big grin on his fact he sang the chorus several more times to our delight. Pontiac is his second album, Mac.

Great album. You've got a good eye. And a damned good ear...


I didn't know that, EG, obviously--is the first album as good?

Oh yeah, I was going to mention that too. His first album was self-titled, I believe, and not nearly so good as Pontiac, though it does have two songs that I like: "This Old Porch" and "God Will".

God will, but I won't, God does, but I don't, and that's the difference between God and me.

I never paid much attention to Lyle Lovett ("that country singer with the weird hair"), but I clicked on this video. I've listened to it about 10 times since Saturday. Great song. Listened to a few more songs - This Old Porch and LA County both grabbed me. Going to have to spend some more time on Youtube (like I don't spend enough...)

I can almost guarantee you'll like the album.

I recognize that lyric, EG. Heard it somewhere obviously. It's brilliant.

Yes, Maclin, that song is pretty meaningful to me. I really like the few songs of his that I've heard. I need to listen to more.

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