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Hard Bargain CD+DVD


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Amazon's Emmylou Harris Store

Music

Image of album by Emmylou Harris

Photos

Image of Emmylou Harris

Biography

Already celebrated as a discoverer and interpreter of other artists’ songs, 12-time Grammy Award–winner Emmylou Harris has, in the last decade, become admired as much for her eloquently straightforward songwriting as for her incomparably expressive singing. On Hard Bargain, her third Nonesuch disc, she offers 11 original songs - three of them co-written with Grammy– and ... Read more in Amazon's Emmylou Harris Store

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for 66 albums, 7 photos, discussions, and more.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 April 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD+DVD
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B004NPZYBI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,649 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. The Road
2. Home Sweet Home
3. My Name Is Emmett Till
4. Goodnight Old World
5. New Orleans
6. Big Black Dog
7. Lonely Girl
8. Hard Bargain
9. Six White Cadillacs
10. The Ship on His Arm
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Six White Cadillacs
2. Goodnight Old World
3. Home Sweet Home
4. Darlin’ Kate
5. Big Black Dog
6. The Road

Product Description

Product Description

titolo-hard bargainartista-emmylou harris etichetta-nonesuch---n. dischi2data-26 aprile 2011supporto-cd audio+dvd videogenere-folk e country

BBC Review

After a 40-year career which has generated over 25 albums, countless collaborations, twelve Grammy wins, membership of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the undying gratitude of several figures in country music, it’s only fair that Emmylou Harris has earned the right to a bit of self-indulgence.

Alas, though, often self-indulgence doesn’t work. Harris’ genius has always been to take a song and own it, to make it her own. Whether it were an old Louvin Brothers number everyone had forgotten, or a completely new take on a Patsy Cline classic, her voice would transform it.

The trouble with Harris is that she’s never been much of a songwriter. Actually, that’s not correct, quite: there was one instance where her self-penned work was wonderful. Boulder to Birmingham, written shortly after the death of her collaborator, duettist and friend, Gram Parsons, was a highlight of 1975’s Pieces of the Sky album. This set begins with another tribute to Gram, The Road; but where the former was full of imagery and allusion, this one makes its point in the most prosaic of ways. All but two of these songs are self-written, but the only one that resonates is Darlin’ Kate, written for her close friend, the late Kate McGarrigle. Here it feels as though she forgets what she is trying to do and just writes from her heart.

The sound of the album is, of course, beautiful. They don’t get that wrong in Nashville. Emmylou plays guitar and her two collaborators, Jay Joyce and Giles Reave, perform admirably and tastefully on an array of guitars and percussion. Her voice, though not as light as it was, still has that irresistible frail breathlessness – and her diction is as indistinct as ever, a characteristic that always gave the impression that she was slightly distracted.

Performances and production are is excellent throughout, then. It’s the songs that are the problem. Harris still has so much to offer; she’s been through the Nashville corporate mill, and steeped herself on the alt-country side of things. She knows the business as well as anyone. She just needs to dig up some big old songs again, as those here aren’t consistently up to the standard fans have rightly come to expect.

--Nick Barraclough

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cloudberry on 13 July 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The subject says it for me. It's all to do with personal taste and my ears haven't heard a better album this year - so far.

I have to disagree with Nick Barraclough about the songs here not being up to her usual standard. I think that most of them are better. If I play the whole album and then want to play a couple of tracks again, I'm now torn between all thirteen as to what to pick. I also think "The Road" is better than "Boulder To Birmingham", although the latter is a brilliant song.

Great tracks include the aforementioned "The Road", "My Name Is Emmett Till", "Goodnight Old World", "Lonely Girl", "The Ship on His Arm", "Nobody", "Cross Yourself" and "Hard Bargain" (my favourite, which shows she is still a wonderful interpreter of others' songs - and Ron Sexsmith is a brilliant songsmith - no pun intended); Gosh - that's nearly all of them.

It's just Emmylou, Jay Joyce and Giles Reaves making the music and both guys are brilliant. Emmylou's voice is as good as ever, with that breathy frailty present as usual. She sings all the vocals (no female backing singers required) and her voice is still magnificent whilst, on almost all tracks, she accompanies herself on guitar. Messrs Joyce and Reaves play everything else - Reaves is a very interesting multi-instrumentalist who has released a couple of albums which sound very new age to me, which I am interested in exloring.

So, all in all, Emmylou remains a fine interpreter of others' songs, but her own writing is becoming stellar. For me, she has not put a foot wrong since "Wrecking Ball" and, at 64, looks fabulous in the photos and sounds just as great. I'm still a recent convert to her music and can only tell you how I feel about her music since I fell in love with her.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 April 2011
Format: Audio CD
In recent years the trilogy of records produced by a completely rejuvenated Emmylou Harris, which starts with the wonders of "Wrecking Ball," climaxes with the brilliant "Red Dirt Girl", and gently lands with the lovely "Stumble into grace" amounted to a peak in Americana music. Harris could barely put a foot wrong and the awards flowed like wine. There have since been a couple of missteps on the way since this reviewer is not a huge fan of her collaboration with Mark Knoplfer yet particularly enjoyed the fine covers on "All I intended to be" (although not all the originals).

Many have questioned whether Emmylou Harris is an artist who sings other people's songs better than she writes her own? In a recent interview with NPR she admitted that songwriting doesn't come easy for her: "It's the fear of writing that's still there with me," Consequently with the majority of tracks on "Hard Bargain" self penned does Harris conquer her fear. The answer is yes in most cases but with a couple of songs that absolutely stand out. Her heartbreaking requiem for her dear departed friend the great folk singer Kate Anna McGarrigle is one example and possibly one of the finest tunes she has written. When "she sings that you are sailing now/ free from the pain" it would take a very cold heart not to be deeply moved by its sentiment. Another even closer friend Gram Parsons is again the key subject of the opener "The Road". She has been here before of course not least in "Boulder to Birmingham" her poignant ode capturing the depth of her shock and pain at losing Parsons. While "The Road" is perhaps not in that class, her unique breathy vocals combined with a rock steady beat is a joy and the song's bridge takes it to new levels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angel Delta TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 May 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In this recording, her 28th studio album in 43 years, Emmylou Harris bares her heart and soul as she admits that "I guess I probably loved you", an undeniable reference to her lover, muse and mentor, the late Gram Parsons. That GP shaped her music, her career and her life there is no doubt and, as she sings in "The Road",

To everything there is a season
And every blessing has its cost,
So I took what you left me
Put it to some use,
Went looking for an answer
With those three chords and the truth.

This is an emotional and evocative paean to the man who never quite had the time to fully realise his Cosmic American Music Dream but Emmylou continues to carry the torch some 37 years after his tragic death at the Joshua Tree. Her poignant lyrics are carried by that beautiful, crystalline voice, its clarity undiminished by the unfolding years.

Since "Wrecking Ball" Harris has demonstrated her talent as a songwriter of sensitivity and grace and she wrote, or co-wrote, eleven of the thirteen songs on the album. Not all reviewers are lavish in their praise of the material in this collection but there is, I believe, a powerful muse at work here.

"My Name Is Emmet Till" is the hauntingly realised story of a 14 year old black boy cruelly murdered because of his colour and performed with an amazing emotional transparency.

There seems to be a very personal thread running through this album with "Lonely Girl", "Goodbye Old World", "Nobody" and her tribute to Kate McGarrigle, "Darling Kate", feeling like "she's drowning in teardrops".
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