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Texas Campfire Takes

Michelle Shocked Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Michelle Shocked - traveller, troubadour, a “picker-poet,”as they say in Texas. As a young feminist, she left Texas to travel, Kerouac-style, and was caught up in Reagan-era grassroots politics. Her musical career was ignited by a bootleg recording made around a Kerrville Folk Festival campfire on a Sony Walkman. Released in England as ‘The Texas Campfire Tapes’ without ... Read more in Amazon's Michelle Shocked Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 April 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Michelle Shocked
  • ASIN: B00008Z48S
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,933 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. 5 A.M. In Amsterdam
2. The Secret Admirer
3. The Incomplete Image
4. Who Cares?
5. Down On Thomas Street
6. Fogtown
7. Steppin' Out
8. The Hep Cat
9. Necktie
10. (Don't You Mess Around With) My Little Sister
See all 12 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. 5 A.M. In Amsterdam
2. Fogtown
3. 4/4 Troubador
4. Steppin' Out
5. Hold Me Back
6. Fool For Cocaine
7. Down On Thomas Street
8. Hardly Gonna Miss Him
9. Hepcat
10. Necktie
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

Recorded without her knowledge at the 1986 Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, some of these 'field' recordings were released on album later that year and became a surprise indie hit in the UK, leading to Michelle being signed by a major label. However, despite the boost that original, primitive, unauthorised release gave to her career she was not best pleased. It was not only without her permission, it was ineptly edited, chopped out many songs and most of her informal chat. Worst of all it was running at the wrong speed. Seventen years later, with Michelle now firmly in control of her career, this revised, 2-CD, expanded release of the Kerrville recordings is a whole different ballgame, endorsed by the artist herself with a 52-page booklet. Now at the right speed with enhanced sound quality and her entire performance intact, it is an infinitely better revelation of why Michelle has become internationally renowned. The first disc of the new package features the album as originally released and reflects that perspective, though now with improved clarity. The second is the restored, revelatory tape with all 21 songs from around the campfire, complete with Michelle's incisive, witty remarks plus a bonus of material made in performance with other musicians at the festival. This release kicks off a year-long publicity campaign to celebrate the career to date of a unique, iconaclastic artist.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical interest 26 Jun 2003
Format:Audio CD
"Texas Campfire Takes" consists of two CDs - Michelle's first album "Texas Campfire Tapes" (!) and a complementary CD with other songs and alternate takes.
All the recordings are made on an extremely simple equipment, at the Kerrville Folk festival in Texas in 1986. Some of the recordings were issued on CD the year after (all this happened, as all fans know, before Michelle's controversy with the record company).
The actual album, "Texas Campfire Tapes", isn't all that interesting - although it's exciting to hear "Secret to a long life" in an early version. But some of the tracks on CD2 are marvellous (although the sound quality is absolutely horrendous).
Especially "Contest coming" which also figures on "Arkansas Traveler" from 1992. The earlier version is folk rock at it's purest, roughest and sweetest.
If you want to know how one of the most interesting folk rockers of today begun, this is the record to buy. It's even more interesting in it's historical context, that is if you have the later albums.
Beware, though, that on some pressings the track listing on the cover isn't accurate - one of the listed songs isn't on the CD, and a few others that are on the CD are not on the cover...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historically important album 2 May 2003
By Fletch-a-sketch TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
When originally released this represented the first recordings issued by one of the most interesting female artists of our time. While Michelle has always been rather negative about it and made no money from the recordings originally the buzz created by its release allowed this troubadour the luxury of getting herself a very good record deal which now includes owing all of here music.
The first disc in the set is music as originally release in order probably sourced from the original CD and adjusted for the first time to allow for the flat batteries in the in the Sony walkman which they were recorded on.
The music was recorded around a campfire complete with the sounds of crickets and the occasional rumble from a lorry in the background. I know that Michelle herself disagrees but I believe that what was originally published did truly represent the most commercial songs from the recordings. Starting with 5AM in Amsterdam always a live favourite, and including Hepcat, (Don't you mess with my) Little Sister, Fogtown and many. There are many great songs.
The second disc is however the complete recording in the correct order but sourced from a second or third generation cassette tape, with the obvious sonic limitations that brings. In many ways more interesting as the recording is complete and unedited, it also contains two bonus tracks 'Cripple Creek' and 'Lagniappe' also recorded at that time.
There is as well included in the package a 52-page booklet of writings songs and official documents charting this turbulent time in the life of Karen Michelle 'Shocked' Johnson. Do buy if you liked the original album the whole package represents very good value for money and gives a very good historical account of a person before they become well known.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good 26 May 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Arrived promptly & well packaged. Price reasonable - which, as trying to replace past (lost) copies of Michelle Shocked's recordings, was a consideration. I don't pretend to be a muso-geek and know anything about sound quality - but sounded fine to me. Happy with purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars low level 25 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
this album is really some of the folkiest, piniest music you can find outside of folkways. i highly recommend it, but i will warn that the recording levels on this album are so low, that even with stereo at full blast, some guitar-strumming is hard to hear. if you want really down-home at its best, though, you're gonna have to deal with the drawback.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific songs by a talented songwriter 22 Oct 2002
By Catherine S. Vodrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Michelle Shocked was recorded in 1986 around a campfire in Kerrville, Texas. The occasion was the Kerrville Folk Festival, and the recording device was a Sony Walkman. Despite the lackluster equipment, Shocked's spiky, playful personality comes through in spades here, as does the astonishing assuredness of her singing. Though she sounds girlish here--and looks about fifteen years old on the cover--there is a maturity and depth to the songs and the phrasing that announce the presence of a mature musician.
Pete Lawrence, the man who recorded the songs, gets Shocked to explain some of the inspiration for the songs in between tunes, but for the most part you hear only Shocked, her guitar, and the crickets in the background. The effect is both immediate and intimate. "5:00 AM in Amsterdam" opens with Shocked sounding like an incredibly youthful Joan Baez or Joni Mitchell, but with a wry and boyish twist. On "Who Cares," there are little flashes of Billie Holiday, believe it or not, and a jut-jawed attitude of defiance that comes across loud and clear despite the primitive recording. "Down on Thomas St." is a brisk and frisky tune and "Fogtown" (about San Francisco, of course!) has a melancholy longing to it. Shocked is a master at conveying unspoken longing and mood without spelling everything out for her listeners. She's also got a great gift for getting your attention right off the bat, as she does with the opening lyrics to "Necktie":
There was a naked man standing in an alley
And he weren't wearing no clothes . . .
Fans of Shocked's later albums will recognize the Elvis-flavored tune "(Don't You Mess Around with) My Little Sister" and "The Secret to a Long Life (is Knowing When It's Time to Go)." Less successful is "The Incomplete Image," a spoken-word piece interspersed with propulsive guitar work. Overall, though, especially given the inauspicious circumstances under which the album was recorded, this is a terrific album hinting at the maturity and brilliance Shocked would display on later albums.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Folk 17 July 2001
By Zach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This record is simply a great folk album. It is Michelle Shocked at her most basic, with only a guitar, her voice, and a handful of songs. Despite being captured on a Sony Walkman, this recording captures the sheer power and talent that Shocked possessed even at this early point in her career. The performance is reminiscient of the the 1960s and the folk revival of the time. A listen to this album will give you a great collection of songs. All original and all good, I can say that this has been one of my favorite albums since I first listened to it. If you're a fan of folk or acoustic pop, do whatever you can to find a copy of this recording.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment 13 Jun 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This CD is a major disappointment for a huge fan. One often hears the phrase "for fans only"; in this case, I would say, "fans stay away". "Takes" contains the original CD, which Michelle much lamented and which seems to have started the rift between her and Mercury Records, and the so-called "real McCoy", apparently taken from the actual tapes but with more material.
The problem with the second CD is the sound quality. I have heard many bootlegs that sound pristine compared to this. I literally had to turn my (100-watt) car CD player all the way up to even barely hear most of it. Many of the lyrics and the between-song dialog are practically unintelligible. This is extremely frustrating, especially knowing all the technology that's available now to fix these sorts of problems. This is 2003. Even if she couldn't get a decent copy of the tapes, they could have been cleaned up much better.
This is a very weak first release for Mighty Sound. Hope the rest are better.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gem! 29 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This collection of story telling songs, sung and told so engagingly, invites the listener to join Michelle at her campfire and enjoy the glow. Irony, sense of humor, characters painted with the brushstrokes of humanity bring the music alive in a way that production can't touch. My favorites are Secret Admirer and Necktie. Drive across the country with this CD and sing along with her, again and again.
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