March 7, 2012 – 4:26 pm

Joe Ely turned 65 on February 9.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

The 1987 Unreleased Album [no label, 1CD]

This contains no released music - the two tunes he salvaged for the ‘88 Hightone CD were totally re-cut later. Linda Ronstadt sings on one track. Ex- SBD stereo.

“I remastered this slightly a few years ago - just some hiss shaving. I’m hoping this will inspire someone with a better copy to put it up.”
- lilpanda, 2006

Now that Joe Ely is 65, he is no nearer to releasing this album officially. We got a copy of lilpanda’s share six years ago. As far as we can tell, no other version of this album has circulated since then.

The album seems to have been made with an eye on expanding Ely’s audience with the inclusion of two covers, Dion’s The Wanderer and John Fogerty’s Rockin’ All Over The World. Ely was an early admirer of The Clash and songs here like Settle For Love have that nod to cowpunk, especially the chiming guitars. His association with The Clash did help him win British fans. Both started out in 1977 and Ely was in London at the time punk was emerging.

In the ’80s, Ely was pushing in all directions as this album illustrates. But he is now firmly recognised as a singer-songwriter and Tex-Mex rock ‘n’ roller. Ely still releases albums but through his own label, Rack ‘Em Records.

We share lilpanda’s opinion that the song Where Is My Love?, a duet with Linda Ronstadt, is deserving of release. So here is the “lost” Joe Ely album.
- The Little Chicken

Thanks to lilpanda for sharing the tracks.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Poor Boy (5.9MB)
Track 02. The Wanderer (5.1MB)
Track 03. Settle For Love (version 1) (6.6MB)
Track 04. A Moving Target (7.3MB)
Track 05. Where Is My Love? (with Linda Ronstadt) (8.3MB)
Track 06. Dig All Night (version 1) (7.1MB)
Track 07. Shades Of Blue (5.3MB)
Track 08. Drivin’ To The Poorhouse (6.6MB)
Track 09. A Guardian Angel (7.0MB)
Track 10. Rockin’ All Over The World (5.4MB)
TT: 40:35m

Tracks 3 and 6 were later re-recorded and appeared on 1988’s Dig All Night.

The cousin to this lost album is Dig All Night, released one year later. Buy it here.

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  1. 16 Responses to “LOOKING BACK AT 65”

  2. WOW!!!!!
    I love joe ely, the flatlanders, jimmie dale gilmore butch hancock you have just made my month !!!BIGO ROCKS!!!!!!!!

    By sluggo on Mar 7, 2012

  3. a welcome addition to my Joe Ely collection! Thank you guys! cheers Tony

    By tony lauber on Mar 7, 2012

  4. Just bought another Joe Ely CD yesterday, and today I find this. Thanks, BigO!

    By aking on Mar 8, 2012

  5. I own a lot of Joe Ely CDs so this is great. Sounds like Bobby Keys on sax there.

    By David Spade on Mar 8, 2012

  6. The track “Poor Boy” is also a first version of a song that ended up on “Dig All Night.” It’s called “Rich Man, Poor Boy” on that album.

    By Woody_Bombay on Mar 8, 2012

  7. I wonder if that is Bobby Keys on sax. He played on Joe’s ‘87 album Lord of the Highway. Oops- just read David Spades comment.
    And I wonder if BigO has any Giant Sand recordings.

    By sking on Mar 8, 2012

  8. very interesting …where did you get this copy of joe’s unreleased album with linda ronstadt….?and did you have permission to release this?
    if not i will definitely put you in touch with joe’s manager for proper release and thanks

    By sharon on Mar 8, 2012

  9. Joe played w Springsteen 5/20/93 in Dublin and 6/24/93 in E. Rutherford NJ. I was at both shows and they played “Settle For Love”…

    By TDC on Mar 8, 2012

  10. Also in circulation:
    Joe Ely
    Love And Danger Sessions
    Nashville, Tennessee

    Master Reels > 1st Generation > CDR > Flac

    Disc One
    01 Highways & Heartaches (OMITTED)
    02 Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes
    03 Up A Tree
    04 Slow You Down (OMITTED)
    05 A Thousand Miles From Home
    06 Easy Street
    07 They Sing Of Her Beauty
    08 Mansfield Dam
    09 One Of A Kind
    10 Pins & Needles (OMITTED)

    Disc Two
    01 Back To My Old Molehill
    02 There’s Never Been
    03 Love Is The Beating Of Hearts
    04 She Collected
    05 I Got A Line On You
    06 Look Of Love
    07 My My
    08 Heart And Soul
    09 Take Me Down

    Drums-David McLarty
    Bass-Jimmy Pettit
    Electric Guitar-David Grissom
    B3 Organ-Reese Wynan
    Percussion-Tom Roady
    Acoustic Guitar-Lloyd Maines

    Friends, here we have a 2 CD set not commonly circulated, these are different
    takes and versions along with many unreleased songs, I’ve made notes on each
    individual track for referance and had to omit 3 songs as the vocal tracks on
    each sound the same as the released versions or close enough I wasn’t
    commortable including them.

    Many of these songs in my opinion are superior to the songs that showed up on
    the very commercial MCA release. Highlights include an excellent studio version
    of “A Thousand Miles From Home” only available as a live version on “Live At
    Antone’s” and the epic “Take Me Down” which is a bit of a departure from Joe’s
    normal style.

    For you David Grissom fans (which I include myslelf) we get a bunch unreleased
    songs with some nice guitar work.


    Highways & Heartaches (OMITTED)

    Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes
    I read an article back in June about the new CD
    he has been working on and it mentions a song
    called “Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes” written
    after Katrina, we have here evidence that it is a song
    written over a decade ago that he is apparently

    Up A Tree
    Reggae feel to a song about a guy that apparently gets himself in a bit
    of trouble and knows he has to face the consequences while he appeals for

    Slow You Down (OMITTED)

    A Thousand Miles From Home
    (Unreleased studio version)
    Live version appears on “Live At Antone’s”

    Easy Street
    A rocker about how nothing in life is free and you have to
    work for what you want.
    “I ain’t lookin’ for easy street, I’ve been down that ally before.
    I ain’t lookin’ for easy street, I’m lookin’ for a whole lot more”

    They Sing Of Her Beauty
    Mid-tempo ballad about a legendary southern beauty that
    in the end is not as beautiful as the legend.

    Mansfield Dam
    Mid tempo rocker about a new love

    She’s One Of A Kind
    Self explanatory

    Pins & Needles (OMITTED)

    Back To My Old Molehill
    (Unreleased Joe Ely version)
    Eventually released by The Flatlanders on Wheel Of Fortune
    sung by Jimmie Dale Gilmore.
    This version has more of a Latin feel to it.

    There’s Never Been
    Contrived piano ballad that could be a hit for some mainstream
    country act.

    Love Is The Beating Of Hearts
    Different take; different second verse. This version is
    slightly shorter with no cymbals on intro and
    different guitar parts/tones. No harmonica present and a
    different vocal take.

    She Collected
    More stripped down and a bit faster tempo than released version,
    less acoustic guitar on this version and a more straight forward vocal.
    A very different feel to this version, a version I prefer to the released

    I Got A Line On You
    Upbeat rocker about a guy chasing a wild woman with late night

    Look Of Love
    Mid tempo rocker about a woman with the “look of love” in everything
    she does.

    My My
    Another wild woman song that can’t commit.
    Heart And Soul
    Mid tempo rocker about filling up your ‘heart and soul” and all your
    troubles be gone.

    Take Me Down
    Sounds like a song that may have been done by someone else? A bit
    of an epic sounding tune with carnival music interludes throughout.
    Great song and a bit different for Joe, seems like I’ve heard something like it
    but can’t place it. Great stuf with nice Grissom guitar.

    By Feelgood on Mar 8, 2012


    By sluggo on Mar 8, 2012

  12. Wow. Like Willy Nile, Keith Sykes, John Eddie, John Cafferty and a host of others, it seems that in ‘87 Joe Ely wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. Or least his label wanted him to.

    Thanks for the post.

    By kingpossum on Mar 8, 2012

  13. Thanks, bigO!

    By NAMoosedog on Mar 9, 2012

  14. I’ve had this for years, on a hissy cassette I got at a record convention. It’s good to have it in better sound that I had it. This still sounds a few generations removed from the original tapes, but it’s great to have it in any form. Thanks!

    My understanding is that this was recorded for MCA as the follow-up to the “Hi-Res” album, but that MCA declined to release it, and it’s remained in limbo ever since. “Dig All Night” was its working title. Tracks 1,3,5,6, and 8 have been subsequently released by Joe in other (and generally superior) versions - but it’s great to hear to unreleased tracks, and I’d agree that the track with Ronstadt is worthy of official release.

    Sharon - if you’d have any influence over getting this officially released in first-generation sound - I’d definitely welcome it (as would many of Joe’s fans, I’m sure)!

    By MrBill on Mar 9, 2012

  15. Yeah, Sharon! If yer not just blowing smoke, get on that manager and use your mighty influence to have this released properly for us fans been waiting 25 years for it in the quality it deserves.

    Or STFU…

    By golgo hakase on Mar 10, 2012

  16. More Joe Ely?? Outstanding!

    By Paul on May 30, 2013

  17. Sharon ? SHARON !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Sharon Moron on Mar 1, 2017

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