Sounds Like Texas: The Best of the Lone Star State

We know everything is bigger in Texas, but is the music better? This week, check out reviews of three albums by The Lone Star State’s greatest!

PearlJanis Joplin
Pearl

Listening to Pearl feels a bit heavy, and there’s certainly reason for that: Janis Joplin’s last, the album was recorded near the very end of her life. After succumbing to an overdose at 27, she would never live to see it finished and released. Her tragic ending was a symbol of how she lived: erratically, but remarkably—an incredible voice and presence that belonged to a very troubled woman. Pearl is both a testament to her incredible talent and a hint of what could have been.

One of the album’s greatest strengths is Full Tilt Boogie, the backup band that’s with her through every track. Together with Janis’ big voice, they create a sound that lets her rock, but keeps her refined and smooth. She doesn’t overpower them, nor they her—it’s a harmonious combination. On tracks like “Cry Baby”, Janis is her full, belt-y self, brought down to earth with Full Tilt Boogie’s influence.

This album has an organization to it that other Joplin records lack, and it’s a refreshing and new take on her music. Previous albums like Cheap Thrills have essentially lacked structure; while letting Joplin’s trademark rawness show is great, the extra guidance in these songs lets her shine in a different way. Her intensity is kept in check just enough to let the songs fully develop, but not so much that she never has her big moment. This album has taken an already incredible talent and refined it into something that much more listenable.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Cry Baby”, “Mercedes Benz”

 

370176-largeLos Lonely Boys
Los Lonely Boys

Los Lonely Boys are certainly true to their Texas roots—they call their musical style “Texas Rock n’ Roll”, a fusion of rock, soul, country, blues and Tejano. A group of three brothers, the band is forging those influences into a brand-new and extremely inspired sound. To cement their status as a true Texan band, the group recorded this album at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales recording studio.

At the heart of this album is their incredible music talent and creativity. Rather than making the album hard to follow, the group’s numerous musical influences instead work their way into a track list that is incredible varied and creative, yet cohesive. That variety turns out to be their greatest strength on Los Lonely Boys: “Crazy Dreams” is a masterpiece of guitar riffs, while “Dime Mi Amor” shifts effortlessly into a Latin-rock structure that echoes Carlos Santana.

Variety isn’t these brothers’ only talent, however: this album shines on instrumentals, vocals and songwriting. Rather than sticking to their Texas roots, their talent elevates them to what feels like a new genre: their songs are crafted with incredible nuance; they find a place in both your heart and your mind. Whether it becomes the soundtrack to your summer party or a quiet at-home listening session, this album deserves a place in any music collection.

Don’t Miss Tracks: “Crazy Dreams”, “Senorita”

 

67224-largeGeorge Strait
Troubadour

It’s impossible to write a compilation of Texas music without at least one country album, and there is no country star more worthy of such a spot than the King of Country: George Strait. Texan-born, George Strait has released dozens of albums and had dozens of No. 1 hits. Twang is a testament to his signature sound and the solidifying of his status as country’s music supreme ruler.

A true Texas star, Strait’s collection not only contains nary a bad album, but manages to stay true to his Texas sound. After releasing so many albums, Strait still manages to find a new sound on Troubadour. The album finds him looking introspectively, creating a soft, mellow sound that is calm and soothing without ever slipping into melodramatic or depressing. On this album, he certainly sounds like a Troubadour—a singer who has had a long and varied career, but always manages to emerge that much better.

It would be easy to mistake Troubadour’s 12 songs for simple tracks, but his sound and songwriting prove otherwise. He’s enlisted a lot of outside songwriting help here, including Buddy Cannon and Monty Holmes, but the songs weave together into a calming, cohesive collection. Despite the number of people involved, the album keeps its attitude going all the way through: it’s a subdued, intimate album that sounds like the soundtrack to events you’ll want to remember. Strait stays true to his Texas roots for a reason: why mix it up when you do it so well?

Don’t Miss Tracks: “River of Love”, “It Was Me”

 

This Week in Music History (April 9th-15th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

4/9- On this day in 1977, ABBA scored its first US No. 1 hit on the Billboard singles chart with “Dancing Queen”. The song was the group’s 7th US Top 40 hit, and would also hit No. 1 in 13 other countries. 

4/10- On this day in 1956, Nat King Cole was attacked onstage while performing a show at the Municipal Hall in Birmingham, Alabama. The attackers were five racial segregationists looking to make a political statement. The group was arrested, and Cole returned to the stage later that night for a second show.

4/11- On this day in 1994, Oasis released their first single, “Supersonic”. Although the track peaked at No. 11 on the charts, it eventually sold over 215,000 copies, making it the band’s 13th highest-selling single.

4/12- On this day in 1954, Bill Haley recorded “Rock Around the Clock” at Pythian Temple studios in New York City. The song, which went on to become a worldwide No. 1 hit, is widely considered to be the track that began rock and roll’s rise to fame.

4/13- On this day in 1967, Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra were No. 1 on the singles chart with “Somethin’ Stupid”, making them the only father and daughter team in history to have a No. 1 single. The song was originally written and recorded by folk singer C. Carson Parks.

4/14- On this day in 1969, Paul McCartney and John Lennon recorded “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. Lennon performed lead vocals and guitar, with McCartney on bass, drums and piano. After the song was released, many radio stations banned it because of its controversial lyrics.

4/15- On this day in 1972, Roberta Flack began a six-week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”. The song, written in 1957 by Ewan MacColl, was featured in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me. 

Oh, so you wanna own these gems, and hear them in lossless format? Check out our CD marketplace where you can stream (mp3, FLAC) and download in your favorite format (mp3, acc, FLAC, and ALAC)!

This Week in Music History (March 5th-11th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

3/5- On this day in 1983, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” started a seven-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart. The song was his fourth solo No.1 in the United States, and also went to No.1 in the United Kingdom.

3/6- On this day in 1965, The Temptations became the first male group to have a No.1 hit for Motown with their single “My Girl”, written by Smokey Robinson.

3/7- On this day in 1969, Led Zeppelin appeared at the Bluesville 69 Club at the Hornsey Wood Tavern, Finsbury Park, in London. The venue was a tiny room in back of the pub, with a stage that was so small that only the drum set fit onstage. The rest of the group was forced to stand on the floor with the crowd.

3/8- On this day in 2008, China began to impose tighter regulations on foreign pop stars after singer Björk caused a controversy by screaming “Tibet, Tibet” after performing her song “Declare Independence” at her concert in Shanghai.

3/9- On this day in 1991, British punk band The Clash scored their only UK No.1 single with “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. The song shot to popularity after it was used in a Levi’s TV advertisement.

3/10- On this day in 1964, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel recorded “The Sounds of Silence” as an acoustic duet. The song did not become a hit until late 1965, when record company producers added electric guitar, drums and bass to the track.

3/11- On this day in 2008, Madonna was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony in New York City. The singer thanked her detractors in her acceptance speech, particularly those who “said I couldn’t sing, that I was a one-hit wonder”.

Pick up these pieces of music history in our CD marketplace! Every album you own comes with unlimited streaming and downloads in mp3, aac, FLAC and Apple Lossless! :-)

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Music for Valentine’s Day ♥

First off—Happy Valentines Day from the Murfie crew! We love y’all!

In honor of this arguably tacky day, we thought we’d share some music that’s perfect for the occasion—whatever your plans are!

Lost Blues and Other Songs
Palace Music

“Will Oldham singing ‘It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m catatonic’ is the perfect accompaniment to lying on the floor staring at the ceiling.”
—Jeff

Lovers Rock
Sade

“The title of the album is ‘Lovers Rock’. Need I say more?”
—Matt

 

Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By
Lovage

“While the title and album art may be more of a joke than anything else, Lovage is a really cool one-off project by Dan the Automator (of Dr. OctagonDeltron 3030Handsome Boy Modelling School), Mike Patton (of Mr. BungleFaith No MoreFantômas), Kid Koala and others. Lovage is an excellent, unique combination of talents stitched together by Mr. Automator, and it’s great fun. Runners Up: Everybody Loves You by Kaki KingLoveless by My Bloody ValentineA Flower is a Lovesome Thing by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.” —John

The Full Monty
Various Artists

“Whether getting ready to go out with friends or staying home with your sweetie, it is impossible to listen to Hot Chocolate‘s ‘You Sexy Thing’ and all the other great 70′s classics on this album without dancing or at least smiling.” —Tiffany

Boys & Girls
The Alabama Shakes

“Not only is this a fantastic rock album, but Boys & Girls covers the full range of emotions associated with love — from the simple, honest, and blissful ‘I Found You’, to the wailing, angst-ridden ‘Heartbreaker’. Top it all off with a track called ‘Be Mine’ and I can’t help but make this my V-Day pick!” —Leah

Take Care
Drake

“Drake knows a thing or two about being extremely emotional.”
—Adam

 

Chances Are
Bob Marley & the Wailers

“‘Mellow Mood’ is one of the best songs for romance. This album is perfect to listen to at home with your date or by yourself!” —Kayla

 

There’s always music to fit the mood. One of these picks might be right for you tonight! Xoxo!

This Week in Music History (February 12th-18th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

2/12- On this day in 1964, The Beatles arrived in New York City for two performances at Carnegie Hall. Tickets were in such high demand that show organizers hastily created last-minute seating around the stage.

2/13- On this day in 1960, Frank Sinatra launched his own record label, Reprise Records, in an attempt to gain more artistic freedom for his work. The label earned Sinatra the nickname “Chairman of the Board”, and would later sign acts including Jimi Hendrix and The Beach Boys.

2/14- On this (Valentine’s!) day in 1998, Celine Dion‘s “My Heart Will Go On” set a new record for the highest number of radio plays in the United States after it was played 116 million times in one week.

2/15- On this day in 1962, Ray Charles recorded “I Can’t Stop Loving You” at United Studios in Hollywood, California. The song would go on to top the charts in both the US and the UK and remain there for 14 weeks.

2/16- On this day in 1985, Bruce Springsteen went to No. 1 on the UK album chart with Born to Run, his first UK No. 1 album. The album was the best-selling album of 1985 in the United States and The Boss’s all-time best-selling album.

2/17- On this day in 2005, a 1965 Fender Stratocaster guitar that had belonged to Jimi Hendrix was sold for £100,000 at an auction in London. Other Hendrix memorabilia, including a poem and a signed copy of “Hey Joe”, were auctioned as well.

2/18- On this day in 1990, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury made his final public appearance onstage when he joined his band to accept the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The ceremony was held at the Dominion Theatre in London.

Check out these albums and other music history gems in our CD marketplace! Stream and download your favorites!