‘A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY IN ONE HAND, A PISTOL IN THE OTHER’

June 14, 2009 – 4:08 am

Here’s another country singer-songwriter who made a reputation writing hits for others but never scoring one himself.

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

MICKEY NEWBURY
Ramblin’ Blues [no label, 1CD]

Live in the USA 1996, 1998. Ex SBD stereo.

Somewhere along the way, Mickey Newbury left the music business behind and instead wrote and recorded for himself. In 1994, he returned with a live album, Nights When I Am Sane, as though to have a memory of what he was up to. Then in 1996, a new Mickey Newbury album appeared with new songs, Lulled By The Moonlight. He even played a few shows, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.

This fan collection includes two shows from 1996 and 1998 where he is joined by Jack Williams on second guitar. He opens this show as he opened the Moonlight album with Three Bells For Stephen. Newbury sings: “Do you remember me, dear hearts and gentle people? I pray I haven’t stayed away too long?” and then proceeds to sing his story songs about lonely people, the ordinary man and his early pop hit, Just Dropped In [for Kenny Rogers & The First Edition]. Newbury’s voice is now deep with experience and he makes all these songs sound inconsolably sad.

When you read any tribute to Newbury, without fail they will mention of how well covered his songs are. American Trilogy, the big hit for Elvis, for instance, has been covered by over 400 artists. Yet each of his songs that have made it to the charts, have also been heavily worked over to raise to the surface the song’s musical hooks. Was Newbury unaware of his own songs potential to be hits?

Perhaps he can best be appreciated by what he said in an interview conducted shortly before his death in 2002. “How many people have listened to my songs and thought, ‘He must have a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a pistol in the other’. Well, I don’t. I write my sadness.”

Of the two sets, the second has the musical advantage of Jack Williams’ stinging guitar, punctuating the songs with frequent exclamations.
- Professor Red

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Tracks 1-8 live in the midwest, 1996
Track 01. Three Bells For Stephen* (5.4MB)
Track 02. Ramblin’ Blues/ Workin’ Man* (10.2MB)
Track 03. Just Dropped In [To See What Condition My Condition Was In] (5.9MB)
Track 04. Sweet Memories (5.8MB)
Track 05. Heaven Help The Child (5.9MB)
Track 06. Clark [includes House Of The Rising Sun] (6.0MB)
Track 07. Why You Been Gone So Long (7.5MB) (7.0MB)
Track 08. Sailor Sailor*/ My Father Was A Sailor/ Wish I Was A Willow Tree (17.2MB - visit the html page to download the track)

Tracks 9-12 live in Memphis, 1998 with Jack Williams
Track 09. Some Memories Are Better Left Alone (7.0MB)
Track 10. Why You Been Gone So Long (6.3MB)
Track 11. All My Trials/ An American Trilogy (17.5MB - visit the html page to download the track)
Track 12. Three Bells For Stephen (5.5MB)

* songs found on his out-of-print 1996 album Lulled By The Moonlight [Mountain Retreat]

It is tragic that the late Mickey Newbury is so poorly represented on CD. The tapes have disappeared and if you do see CDs of his early RCA albums, they were all made from mint copies of the vinyl albums. Of his major label debut, Australian label, Raven Records, did reissue Harlequin Melodies: The Complete RCA Recordings on CD. They contain the recordings as produced by Felton Jarvis, given a popular sheen that Newbury disliked. This seems to be copied from vinyl but still it’s worth the investment. Buy it here.

  1. 6 Responses to “‘A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY IN ONE HAND, A PISTOL IN THE OTHER’”

  2. Massive thanks for this. Absolutely loved the previous Newbury post you put up here.

    By John on Jun 14, 2009

  3. Thanx for this way laid back, yearning show. Mickey had a lotta soul & saw too much of what we can’t stand to see.

    By Timmy on Jun 15, 2009

  4. thank you thank you one of the greatest songwriters of our time

    By moke on Jun 16, 2009

  5. Thanks for this great stuff - the Trident session you posted earlier is one of my all time fave discs. I hope you can unearth more gems by him.

    By tim on Jun 19, 2009

  6. Gosh, this is the greatest site! You have supplied me with so much great live/bootleg music, I just could never thank you enough! And turning me on to Mickey Newbury was the most important thing of all. He was just a name in a Willie and Waylon song for years, now he’s like an old friend.

    You once put up some tracks by him that were with a cello, and this music was sacred to me. I changed computers, put it on an external hard drive, and now it seems not to exist. Can you post it again, or send it to me?? It started with a 14 min version of a song called Geneveve, or something like that. I remember it was 2am one night, and I thought, I’ve been putting off listening to this guy, but let’s do it. Oh, the first song is 14 min! Like I’m going to make it thru all of that one! Then at about 12 min in I was sorry it was so short. What a great song, what a great set, what a great performer!

    You would enrich my life —AGAIN–if you could repost this! Thank you beyond words!

    Brad

    By Brad on Jun 22, 2009

  7. Hello Brad

    Thanks for the kind words. Please check your email for the link.

    By bigozine2 on Jun 22, 2009

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