I split Lucinda Williams’ discography into four periods.
You have the early years, from 1979-1992, featuring straightforward folk pop/rock and her most radio-friendly tunes and vocals.
Then there’s the span from 1998-2003, which saw her stretch into more challenging song styles and favor raw emotion over more polished performances. 1998’s Car Wheels On a Gravel Road, still her masterpiece, bridges the first two phases.
‘The Night’s Too Long’ is one of two songs on Lucinda Williams’ self-titled 1988 album to become hits for other artists.
Patty Loveless recorded this track for her 1990 album On Down the Line and put it on the country charts for 19 weeks.
Two years later, Mary Chapin Carpenter recorded ‘Passionate Kisses’ for the album Come On Come On and found success on not just the country chart, but Adult Contemporary and the Billboard Hot 100. That recording won Williams a songwriting Grammy for Best Country Song.
Here’s a track from Disc One of Lucinda Williams’ 2014 Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, her 11th studio album. The album takes its title from a poem by Miller Williams, Lucinda’s father.
I haven’t spent a lot of time with this album but I enjoy the overall vibe. It’s a whole lot of blues rock, played by an all-star lineup of session musicians.
Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘Take On Me‘ – A-Ha (1985)
1985 is the second year to place two songs on my list of favorites, the first being Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ and the second being one of today’s featured tracks, A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me.’
Some songs on this list are here because of the excellence of a specific version. ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ is a good example. Both the original demo and cover versions by others pale in comparison to the magic created by Simple Minds on the definitive recording.
Lucinda Williams’ seventh studio album, World Without Tears, is my #8 album of 2003. This record was Williams’ follow-up to 2001’s plaintive Essence, and it finds her in a very different mood.
Much of World Without Tears is relentlessly bleak, touching on sexual abuse, drug addiction, domestic violence and historical atrocities. Fun!