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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 12 May 2000
At the time of writing this album is over 5 years old and it remains one of my favourites. The songs, arrangements and performances are excellent but more than that, the album serves as a sampler of what is best in what is currently known as alt.country. Songs by Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Neil Young and others are inventively arranged by Daniel Lanois and hauntingly sung by Emmylou Harris. This album is worth the money just for Emmylou's version of the Steve Earle song "Goodbye".
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on 27 June 2014
Overall the sound is only slightly improved but it always sounded great, audio-wise, anyway.

The packaging is to be honest a bit bland for a 'deluxe edition' with just a few new photos and nothing special overall.

The DVD is very interesting showing Daniel Lanois' recording studio, in effect his house in New Orleans, with many people popping in to record such as Neil Young, Rodney Crowell, Larry Mullin Jnr, The McGarrigle Sisters, Steve Earle and others.

Only about half the songs on the album are in the DVD which runs for just under an hour and cuts between the studio recordings, live performances and the actual recording process.

The bonus CD (13 tracks) is interesting with 3 tracks fully completed that could have been on the album especially Richard Thompson's 'How Will I Ever Be Simple Again' being one that really should have been on the album. Leonard Cohen's "The Stranger Song' is also excellent.

The other tracks are early run through's of most of the original album's tracks and are also interesting.

But the original album still stands the test of time, an unclassifiable album that could have been recorded yesterday and which defies any genre. Nothing else sounds like it, it's a totally unique album,

A 5 star classic.
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Not only is Wrecking Ball a milestone in the career of Emmylou Harris, it is also a jewel in the crown of producer Daniel Lanois who himself has released masterpieces like Acadie and For the Beauty of Wynona, and has written two of these timeless songs.

This is of those albums you return to again and again. People of many musical tastes including rock, country, folk, pop and easy listening will all find something to enjoy. I love Daniel Lanois' production which lends a haunting, wistful quality to Emmylou's voice and infuses the sound with atmospherics.

The great songs are written by talents like Steve Earle, Neil Young, Anna McGarrigle, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Jimi Hendrix and producer Daniel Lanois. My favourites include Going Back To Harlan, Bob Dylan's devotional masterpiece Every Grain of Sand (Emmylou has fiddled with some lyrics here but it doesn't matter at all).

Goodbye is a most poetic & melancholy 1960s reminiscence, Lucinda Williams' Sweet Old World is stirringly interpreted and Orphan Girl is real wailing country. The last two tracks are truly outstanding: Blackhawk and the highly sensual Waltz Across Texas Tonight are both sweeping ballads with gripping imagery and magical melodies.

Emmylou followed up this album with two more masterpieces that resembled it in sound and style: Red Dirt Girl and Stumble Into Grace. I highly recommend both; they're just as exceptional and spellbinding as Wrecking Ball.
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on 29 September 2003
I remember my mum listening to emmy on a sunday morning and the sound of her voice ringing through the house, it has taken a few years to realise the importance of this voice and that fateful day I was in a record store in Reading and stood at the listening post and placed the earphones on and fell instantly in love with this album....... I have no doubt that this is one of the most powerful albums ever.
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on 18 September 2006
I was recommended this album by Amazon today - it is 2006 and over ten years since this extraordinary album's release. I came to read the reviews and was stunned to see only eight! ONLY eight for this, the most important album that I ever bought. My musical life breaks down cleanly into pre-WB and post-WB, where WB stands for this album. I first bought this because of a four line review in the Daily Mail, where the reviewer said if you buy one album this year, please let it be this one. So I did - as I wanted to see why one man would go out on a limb so far in some populist rag. I'm not saying this is Emmy's best - for that I humbly suggest Red Dirt Girl - but this album led me on to Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Malcolm Burn, Gram Parsons, Grand Drive, Jayhawks, Sinead Lohan, the Byrds... you get the idea.

Goodbye is the stand out track. It will break your heart. But the rest of the album is equally stunning. For me, this album sits alongside The Velvet Underground, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, Roxy Music, Grand Prix, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. It is the sort of album that people who make their own music adore - because it oozes inspiration. Emmylou Harris had the bravery to do this, even if she is not the primary creative force.

Buy this album. It might be over ten years old, but it still sounds revolutionary.
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on 6 March 2001
Emmylou Harris has always had a voice to melt even the coldest hearts, but seldom has it been treated with such respect and given such a wondrous backing. To call this album country music misses the point entirely, this is ambient heart wrenching music of the soul, which transcends genres and crosses all boundaries. For those of you who thought Harris had a great voice but was a bit too country for you this is the album to change your mind. If you can make it through her version of the title track (originally a Neil Young number) without feeling a lump in the throat shame on you you heartless charlatans!!
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Not only is Wrecking Ball a milestone in the career of Emmylou Harris, it is also a jewel in the crown of producer Daniel Lanois who himself has released masterpieces like Acadie and For the Beauty of Wynona, and has written two of these timeless songs.

This is of those albums you return to again and again. People of many musical tastes including rock, country, folk, pop and easy listening will all find something to enjoy. I love Daniel Lanois' production which lends a haunting, wistful quality to Emmylou's voice and infuses the sound with atmospherics.

The great songs are written by talents like Steve Earle, Neil Young, Anna McGarrigle, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Jimi Hendrix and producer Daniel Lanois. My favourites include Going Back To Harlan, Bob Dylan's devotional masterpiece Every Grain of Sand (Emmylou has fiddled with some lyrics here but it doesn't matter at all).

Goodbye is a most poetic & melancholy 1960s reminiscence, Lucinda Williams' Sweet Old World is stirringly interpreted and Orphan Girl is real wailing country. The last two tracks are truly outstanding: Blackhawk and the highly sensual Waltz Across Texas Tonight are both sweeping ballads with gripping imagery and magical melodies.

Emmylou followed up this album with two more masterpieces that resembled it in sound and style: Red Dirt Girl and Stumble Into Grace. I highly recommend both; they're just as exceptional and spellbinding as Wrecking Ball.
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on 18 April 2014
This is a review of the newly released, re-mastered, bonus discs etc version of Emmylou and Dan Lanois's classic from 1995 (is it really that long ago? Who knows where the time goes?).

Is it worth it over the original CD?

Emphatically yes! Just on the basis of the improved sound of the main album.

Lanois' production was criticised in some quarters for being murky and soupy. I never understood this. Yes. it has a distinctively hazy, while still clear, quality, but Emmylou's voice and the voices of the all-star backing singers remain clear, the instruments are all easily identifiable and in defined places in the soundstage...It is quite obvious what Buddy Miller "borrowed" from Lanois's production and guitar playing when one listens to the follow up, Red Dirt Girl.

The current release is more of what made this good to start with. Everything is clearer, be it the emotion in Emmylou's voice or whatever Dan Lanois was doing to the instruments. No obvious Loudness Wars over-compression.

I haven't had chance to play the outtakes and the DVD yet, so will report on those later.

In general this is a great album, with Emmylou growing into her voice (for want of a better term), losing some of her younger, crystalline quality, but becoming richer, more expressive, more emotional. Her choice of songs remains as good as ever - almost a song writers' Who's Who, with Dylan, Neil Young, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell and Anna McGarrigle represented. Lanois's guitar playing is as exemplary as ever, and the various rhythm section players are excellently understated in their support.

It set the scene nicely for Red Dirt Girl, in which Emmylou suddenly revealed her own song writing talents...Deluxe version of that one please, Grapevine!

ETA: Listened to the outtake disc now, and it's a good one, much better than many outtake or demo bonus discs I've heard in the past. OK, so I could listen to Ms Harris sing the 'phone book, but the other versions of the album tracks are fine. The 3 songs which didn't make it are good, and wouldn't have been out of place on the album itself: using Richard Thompson and Leonard Cohen songs is never a bad thing and the choice of Lanois' own Still Water, from his album Acadie, is a good one, fitting with other songs using watery imagery.
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on 24 January 2009
I first heard an Emmylou song on radio 2 by chance. It happened to be 'Orphan Girl' from this album (a sad upbeat song with powerful vocals)and it played around in my head for a few weeks until I bought the cd.
The whole album is up to the same standard and each song flows into the next so well.
This album was the changing point for her, from straightforward country (which i dont like) to more modern, sophisticated and alternative music (amazing).

1. Where will I be. (9/10) A great start to the album with some deep soulful notes hit on the chorus.

2. Goodbye. (10/10) A really powerful ethereal ballad, one of the best tracks on the cd. Her voice is so soft and echoes and fades in and out with the music.

3. All my Tears (10/10) Another great song. The music perfectly complement the voice - multiple layers of voice on the chorus.

4. Wrecking Ball (10/10) A cover song about meeting your lover for a dance- such a fresh and powerful vocals. I had this one on repeat for ages.

5. Going back to Harlam (9/10) Unusual lyrics. again great vocals and music and a very catchy chorus.

6. Deeper Well (4/10) This is the only song I don't like so much as the others. Uses a much deeper range to her voice - shows versatility at least - but I might skip this song.

7. Every Grain of Sand (10/10) A bob dylan cover. In my opinion this is better than the original. She does it so well and uses husky and soulful ranges of her voice

8. Sweet Old World (9/10) Another very good song full of emotion about losing someone.

9. May this be Love (8/10) Her voice is almost drowned out by the music in places - but that was obviously a deliberate effect, because it works so well. A really original version of this song.

10. Orphan Girl (10/10) Up tempo song about not having family. Very catchy and well sung and very emotional. Her voice is in top form here. My second favourite track of the cd.

11. Blackhawk (10/10) Another great song - with more great singing and a great chorus.

12. Waltz Acroos texas Tonight (10/10) My favourite song by Emmylou. I was repeating this one for hours when i fist heard it. Such an amazing chorus! She does such great things with her voice on this song.

Overall 10/10. I have since bought other Emmylou Harris albums (both older and newer albums) only to be dissappointed with most of the songs.
This album really stands out - full of great songs the fit together so well.

If you only buy one Emmylou cd, buy this one. (It would even be a better purchase to get this cd rather than any greatest hits! trust me)
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on 19 November 2014
If you like Emmylou and haven't got this one then add it to your list, it is fairly typical of the mid 90's period of her career. The voice is still capable of soaring to good effect. This is more a middle of the road than a Country album but no worse for that. The title track is brilliant I'm sure I've heard this by other artists but can't currently place them.
Closing numbers Blackhawk & Waltzing Across Texas tonight are very good. And as usual the whole band are a very good both individually and as a backing band.
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