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Wishbones Limited Edition

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Wishbones + Broke Down + Still Fighting The War
Price For All Three: £42.82

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Aug 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B0001GOHK2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,102 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Wishbones 3:25£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Road Too Long 2:47£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Drinkin' Days 4:25£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Sinner's Prayer 4:20£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Tiger Tom Dixon's Blues 4:05£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Below 4:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Quick As Dreams 4:08£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Horses And Divorces 3:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Hearts Break 3:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Borderline 4:52£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. New Year's Day 3:37£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

WISHBONES, Slaid Cleaves' third album for Philo/Rounder, features all the strengths that have drawn him a loyal following as one of America’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters. The songs remain literate, emotionally vivid and concisely colourful. Only this time, they make you move. After three years of steady touring, Cleaves decided he wanted to make more of a band album, one that rocked harder than the acoustic-based songs he’d previously recorded. Producer and multi-instrumentalist, Gurf Morlix, readily agreed. The strong narratives and character-driven stories are filled with moments of reckoning. While the title song focuses on a desperate hope for another chance, “Sinner’s Prayer”, about a man hiding a dark side that’s ruining him, hasn’t a hint of optimism. Set to a gospelly, dark blues reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s recent work, it’s one of the songs that shows how much Cleaves has transformed himself on his new album. Terser and punchier than past work, yet still packed with the same emotional weight and clever wordplay, WISHBONES proves Cleaves is a versatile artist capable of swagger as well as sensitive insight. Tracks: Wishbones / Road Too Long / Drinkin' Days / Sinner's Prayer / Tiger Tom Dixon's Blues / Below / Quick As Dreams / Horses / Hearts Break / Borderline / New Year's Day Also available: NO ANGEL KNOWS (CDPH1201); BROKE DOWN (CDPH1225)

BBC Review

Radio 2 drivetime listeners will already know the name of Slaid Cleaves. A regular guest of Johnnie Walker's, he even wrote a touching off-the-cuff ode to Sally 'Traffic' Boazman that still gets an airing! But if you approach Slaid's albums expecting breezy country folk you're in for a big surprise. Cleaves writes about desperate men, losers and failures, all from the perspective of a bar room raconteur. They may couched in easy, bar band music, but scratch the surface and these songs are not pretty pictures.

It's appropriate that Cleaves relocated to Austin. Like the Texan town's more famous sons and daughters such as Joe Ely, Steve Earle or Lucinda Williams (with whom he shares wonderfully-monikered bass player Gurf Morlix), his raison d'etre is telling stories. In fact it's the younger Earle that Cleaves can be most easily compared to. Like him, he takes his cue from both Hank Williams AND Woody Guthrie. While Earle now brings a more political perspective to much of his work, Slaid still concentrates on the ordinary man and his ordinary failures. Songs about car-obsessed grease monkeys ("Road Too Long"), old men reflecting on glory days ("Quick As Dreams") and recovering alcoholics paying for mistakes ("Drinkin' Days") can't help but remind you of albums like Exit 0 or Guitar Town.

That's not to say that Cleaves isn't an original. His voice is far sweeter than Earle's and with his last album, Broke Down, he easily carved out his own niche in the ever-burgeoning Americana scene, and looks set to continue with Wishbones. To English ears the bleary blue-collar romanticism (as with Springsteen and Earle) may seem a little contrived at times and the anti-modernisation ballad "Below" comes across as cloying. But one can't but help feel grateful to someone who so fearlessly faces what most of us would willingly shy away from. As he says on ''Hearts Break'': 'One thing remains: the terrible beauty of it all'. --Chris Jones

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kingfisher on 18 Jun 2011
Format: Audio CD
Without doubt the finest of his CDs. The album is as complete as it comes and very addictive. Can and should be listened to again and again.
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By Devonlass on 5 April 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I play this everyday on my way home from work some of his lirics you can apply to your own life, it sets me up for the evening & relaxes me.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Cady on 7 Jan 2009
Format: Audio CD
I'd only heard Slaid Cleaves on YouTube, in fuzzy recording with mediocre sound quality. I liked what I could hear, decided I had nothing to lose and bought this. I quickly realized it would become a treasure. Every song is a story, with Mr. Cleaves' smokey voice lending itself perfectly to each of them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Slaid has another great one 30 July 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Slaid Cleaves is a great talent. His songs are sad but somehow when he sings them they come out beautiful and moving rather than depressing. I bought my first CD of his after hearing a live performance about 3 years ago. I quickly found that it was the CD that I played the most. 3 years later, I still play that CD and all his others more than any in my collection. He is also a great live performer. I have added Wishbones to my Slaid "playlist" on my computer (after legitimately purchasing it) and can tell that it will wear as well as the previous CD's.

BTW, the reviewer above (a music fan) who gave the CD one star and wrote the scathing review, wrote almost the same words in a review of a previous CD, "Broke Down" (You can read it for yourself if you go to the "Broke Down" reviews). It seems a bit fishy that "A music fan" bought and reviewed this CD after saying that the previous CD was a waste of plastic. While everyone has the right to his/her opinion, I am guessing this person has a personal problem with Slaid (jealousy maybe????) or maybe with Rounder Records. I wouldn't put much stock in it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A wise and warm voice - excellently produced album 16 April 2004
By 6XERVANTES - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Slaid Cleaves is quite definitely the best American singer-songwriter I've come across in recent years. This excellently produced album contains a string of first-class songs, each of which is full of warmth and wisdom. The first time I read about Slaid Cleaves was on the BBC music page, where the melancholy beauty and the wisdom of his songs are justly celebrated. Take, for example, 'Drinking days' or 'Borderline' - songs that go straight to the heart. A record to listen to many times over. Slaid's voice is the perfect instrument for these ballads, that reveal something that has become so rare in contemporary popular music - thoughtfulness and sensitivity. In other words, this guy observes -and strives to understand- people and their everyday problems and tragedies, shaping songs of elegant lyrics and haunting melodies.
As a German who's been in love with various styles of American music for a long time, in fact most of his life, this record is further evidence of an ability of sensitive and intelligent American songwriters that is totally unparallelled in German, French or British popular music: the ability to combine realistic, heartfelt poetry with beautiful melodies,
simply stating the truth, without imposing cheap solutions on
the listener or getting sarcastic.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Aint broke don't fix it 31 Aug 2004
By medicinemusic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
No huge surprises in Wishbones, "if it ain't broke don't fix it". So expect, top notch instrumentation (big iron strings and sliding steel abound ) and equally slick production and performance, emotional weight and clever wordplay, stories of the hard road, American fables, and lovelorn vinaigrettes.In his own words from the title track "this is real life no reality show" . The gritty Cleaves is again in cahoots with Austin production mentor and buddy Gurf Morlix, but this time he is really utilising Gurfs considerable guitaring skills to maximum effect. This album is a bit rockier with more band arrangements than the award winning 2000 release Broke Down. Cleaves says, with obvious pride, of Wishbones "The instrumentation becomes more a part of the story instead of the background to the story." It certainly feels comfortable on the ears to this listener, and I can see why Cleaves is comfortable with the arrangements to the extent he indicates.

The only complaint I can imagine from his legion of fans will be "why so long"? Slaid Cleaves is at his best when he is telling "beginning middle and end" stories and Wishbones, if anything, has even more story songs than Broke Down. He has a lazy affability and a deceptively well-honed ability to introduce characters, lay settings, communicate emotions and conduct a journey through verse long adventures, with either comforting or confronting choruses, to the inevitable moral filled conclusion and all in 3 minutes. Slaid is as good as it gets at this, and what is even better, from the point of view of an ardent gig goer, the hard working Cleaves ( whos musical trail started busking in Cork in the mid 80's where he was a student ) can still be found touring 10 months of the year and will in any given year be at a venue near you.

Though if this album is as user friendly as I suspect it is, and given some breaks, it can't be long until he will only be available live, as a dot at the end of some warehouse for £30 a ticket, see him while you can!


01 Wishbones .... a jaunty guitar driven careworn but optimistic tale

02 Road Too Long.... a standard RnB truckers tune (six day in this mode but I'm going to get a hit this time)

03 Drinkin' Days.... His drinking days are over but he's still in trouble, bad luck doesn't always come in a bottle. The sequel to Horse Shoe lounge from Broke Down

04 Sinner's Prayer.... Blues tune, in a Peter Green style, a lament for the lost life.

05 Tiger Tom Dixon's Blues.... Reforged collaboration with his pall Rod Picott, the boxers tale

06 Below.... Nostalgic piece of childhood and childhood places both lost never to be seen again.

07 Quick as Dreams... The old timer Jocky's recollection, riding the thoroughbreds, in the racing hey day

08 Horses.... Moonshine Willie's tale, in a Jimmy Rogers style

09 Hearts Break.... Shuffering Blues and home spun philosophy, my favourite track.

10 Borderline.... Heartbreaking tale of a disenfranchised migrant worker

11 New Year's Day.... A Cajun feel good farewell to a friend

Rob Ellen
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great CD from start to finish! 20 Mar 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Slaid Cleaves is one great relatively unknown singer/songwriter. Every cut on "Wishbones" is terrific, and each song is interesting musically and lyrically. So much better than anything being played on most radio stations. If you've never heard Slaid before, this CD or "Broke Down" released in 2000 are good starts. I can't think of a better Cd to take a chance on. You'll be hooked in no time.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
So Good I Cried 14 April 2004
By OkieRambler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I don't know, maybe I'm getting old, but Slaid's "Quick As A Dream" brings me to tears. As tragic as the story of the young jockey's death is, that isn't what makes me well up. I think it has more to do with the focus on the small details that make life precious. And thank you, Slaid, for the chorus. I can see the little old man in his room sharing his keepsake with his visitor, his eyes sparkling as he remembers that "sixty years ago I rode for the Diamond team, sailing by eight feet high on horses quick as dreams."
The rest of "Wishbones" is also fine and excellently paced. For example, "Quick As a Dream" is followed immediately by a comic rounder's tale that reminds me of Tom T. Hall's "Faster Horses" and why I started liking so-called "country" music in the first place. It also reminds me of why I don't listen to much country radio, you just won't hear the "good stuff" there. I put "Wishbone" the same class with Rodney Crowell's "Houston Kid" and Mary Gauthier's "Filth and Fire." All three are albums that aren't necessary pretty or perfect, but always beautiful.
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