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Music Review: Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels On A Gravel Road, Deluxe Editon

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I’ve mentioned before that Lucinda William’s Car Wheels On A Gravel Road is one of my all time favorite albums. It stands to be mentioned again.

Car Wheels On A Gravel Road is one of my all time favorite albums.

It’s a nearly perfect record. It’s full of sadness and heartache and longing and lust. In my review of the alternate version of Car Wheels I mentioned that I once included “Jackson” onto a mix tape I made for my wife long before she was anything but a friend. What I failed to mention was that I long contemplated putting “Right In Time” on there instead.

“Right In Time,” you see, is all about the singer missing her lover deeply, so much so that she turns off the lights, lies down and, well, does things that I was ultimately not so sure would turn my friend into the sort of girl I was interested in. Oh sure, maybe she’d dig it and get the picture and moan a while with me, but more than likely she’d take such an overt statement of lust into offensiveness and I’d be left all alone, on my own to moan.

Wisdom got the better of me and I chose the sad song instead of the sex song and years later I’m still happily married to that woman.

It is an album full of love, broken lovers, longing and lust. From the opening song’s lustful longing to the tragic tale of a woman moving on in “Jackson,” it is an album full of dusty back roads, rundown juke joints and the untold stories of America.

The good people at Lost Highway have seen fit to release Car Wheels in a two-disk Deluxe Edition full of all sorts of bells and whistles. The whole thing has been re-mastered and it sounds full and crisp and beautiful.

They’ve also included three additional songs to the first disk to add to your enjoyment. “Down the Big Road Blues” is a classic blues number and Lucinda sings it like a pro. She hasn’t belted out this kind of hard core blues since her first album. “Out of Touch” is a full-on weeper that was later included on her follow-up album, Essence. Also included is an alternate version of “Still I Long For Your Kiss,” which you might recognize from the film Horse Whisperer.

For fans, the real treat is the second disk which includes a full live performance for the WXPN World Café radio show. It’s a spirited performance featuring most of the Car Wheels album, plus a handful of older tracks.

For those unacquainted with Lucinda, this is the perfect place to start – you get her finest album in pristine form and some live tracks to round out her older material. For fans, not only do you get a fresh re-master of Car Wheels, plus a few bonus songs, but you'll also discover a full disk of unreleased live material.

Be sure to enter our Car Wheels Deluxe Edition Give-away.

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About Mat Brewster