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Letter to Laredo

Joe Ely Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £14.28
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Product details

  • Audio CD (9 Nov 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Transatlantic
  • ASIN: B000024K84
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,028 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. All Just To Get To You
2. Gallo Del Cielo
3. Run Preciosa
4. Saint Valentine
5. Ranches And Rivers
6. Letter To Laredo
7. I Saw It In You
8. She Spoke Spanish To Me
9. I Ain't Been Her Long
10. That Ain't Enough
11. I'm A Thousand Miles From Home

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lubbock legends masterpiece 28 May 2007
Format:Audio CD
Why doesn't anyone write reviews on Joe Ely albums after all this is the man who supported The Clash on their London Calling Lewisham Odeon gig and sings backing vocals on 'should i stay or should i go'. Letter to Laredo has a spanish mexican feel to most of the songs. The lyrics are full of strong imagery for instance, his classic cover of Tom Russell's Gallo Del Cielo. Infact this track alone justifies the purchase of this cd.

I would strongly recommend this cd to anyone who enjoys artists such as:

Townes Van Zandt, Tom Russell and even Steve Earle to name but a few.

If you have never bought a Joe Ely cd before this is one hell of a good place to start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In which our hero goes travelling 13 Jun 2011
By Dangerous Dave TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
An excellent return to form from Joe. He'd been though several albums where he seemed to be struggling for identity. He'd always had some affinity for the borderland but this time he's given over most of the album to such feelings. While the sound is more acoustic generally, it's the presence of Dutch flamenco guitarist Teye, usually well to the fore in the mix which gives it a strong Andalucian cum Mexican flavour. Teye is an interesting character. After a period in London following his musical career, he moved back to Holland and played in a rock'n'roll band. He then studied classical guitar before moving to Seville, Spain, to learn flamenco guitar. After a solo flamenco album and visits to various international venues in order to play, he met Ely by chance in Austin - courtesy to Wikipedia for this info. How much of this album arose following from this meeting is pure speculation - Joe may have had most of it hatched and raring to go place already. Certainly to use a flamenco guitarist primarily to evoke the sounds of Mexico (but also to add drama) strikes me as envelope-pushing.

With three notable exceptions all the songs come from Joe himself. Two of the exceptions are standouts: "Gallo Del Cielo" is the famed song from Tom Russell about Mexican cockfighting - I say song, it's more of a saga. Teye, and later David Grissom , provide dramatic counterpoint to Joe as he tells us about the "warrior born in heaven" with "one eye rollin' crazy in his head". He makes the song thoroughly his own which must have been damned difficult considering the quality of the original. Butch Hancock's "She finally spoke Spanish to me" is an answer to his earlier "She wouldn't speak Spanish to me" with similar tune.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING 30 May 2010
Format:Audio CD
Over the years I have had the opportunity to listen to a few of Joe Ely's albums, and whilst the vast majority fail to inspire me, this one 'Letter To Laredo' just simply blew my socks off. Each and every song on this CD is superb, particularly the cover of Tom Russell's 'Gallo Del Cielo' which has to be the centre piece. Tom Russell has aknowledged Joe Ely for his treatment of this song and I for one will say that this version is head and shoulders above any of Tom's versions, and I would be a very big Tom Russell fan.

If you like a Mexicain flavour to your Americana, then look no further than this CD. Immerse yourself in the stories and you can imagine you are observing life in Mexico or a Spanish quarter in any large American city. We have stories of Love (All Just To Get To You / I Saw It In You / Ranches and Rivers / Letter To Laredo ). There is the story of the poser with the broken heart, St Valentine (the pseudo cool young Spanish American with his beat up red Continental which he said wasn't his but was only a rental, in his shades, cowboy hat and torn tee shirt of the Virgin Madonna). There are stories of lost love, (Run Preciosa, / I'm A Thousand Miles From Home and the superb She Finnally Spoke Spanish To Me). And not forgetting Gallo Del Cielo, the tale of the young poor Mexican stealing a flawed fighting cock, intending to use his fight winnings to buy back the land stolen from his family by Pancho Villa. One could regard this CD as a modern day Marty Robins style recording.

Guests on this recording include Bruce Springsteen, Raul Malo and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, a fellow member of The Flatlanders which included Butch Handcock and Joe Ely. A superb recording and one which should grace anyone's CD collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A love and a fire more precious than gold 24 Sep 2012
By GlynLuke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Ever listened to `Bob Harris Country` on Radio 2? This optimistically titled programme is in thrall to Nashville, the slicker kinds of modern country music, and all but ignores the likes of Iris De Ment, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Tom Russell, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Shelby Lynne, Dwight Yoakam, and Joe Ely - most of my favourite country singers, in fact. (If you ask me, `Whispering Bob` is and has always been an overrated, self-regarding presenter, who happened to be in some of the right places at the right times.)
I`ve had this wonderful album since it came out in 1995, being one of the first CDs I bought. There`s a captivating Tex-Mex feel to most of it, with plenty of Spanish guitar courtesy of a man named simply Teye.
None other than a certain Bruce Sprinsteen (ever a man of immaculate taste) sings back-up on the rockier opener All Just To Get To You. Then we`re into the New Mexican border with Tom Russell`s epic seven-minute Gallo Del Cielo, which is a terrific song done full justice by Joe in all his rough-hewn pomp.
A favourite track of mine is Ranches And Rivers, with its refrain:

Some men could give you ranches and rivers
With fences of barbed wire to keep out the cold
But me I got nothin`, no titles to nothin`
Just a love and a fire more precious than gold

The accordion of Ponty Bone (great name) helps bring the number alive, and there`s plenty of dobro and Spanish guitar too. What a beautiful song it is.
She Finally Spoke Spanish To Me is Butch Hancock`s wittily titled `reply` to his own earlier song covered by Ely, She Never Spoke Spanish To Me (a superb song in its own right) and has a similar melody. A cathartic, if ironic, denouement to this ongoing saga!
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