Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Southern Comfort from Area Code 615

Now for something a bit different . . . I've been pretty California-centric in my selections to date on this still very young blog, but that's not my intent. Sure, most hippie-country music came from the West, but there are a few excellent exceptions that we'll explore in time. Today we're gonna check out the crack studio cabal from Nashville that recorded two albums under the name Area Code 615. The reference, as you can see from the above picture above is to the geographic locality of Nashville. These guys ruled the Nashville studio scene in the 1960s and 1970s and here we see them branching out in a rockier style.

They even played the Fillmore in San Francisco for all the longhairs, despite their cleaner-cut looks and tight instrumental playing. But don't be fooled, this stuff is heavy. The first album had a smattering of cover songs and a few originals, while the second album is more experimental and finds the studio band exploring some more R&B textures with no shortage of interesting drum parts. Who ever said country couldn't be funky too?

Area Code 615 - Southern Comfort
Area Code 615 - Ruby
Here are two great original tunes from their first album. Southern Comfort is kinda a signature tune for them with some excellent soloing and great band cohesion. Ruby just flat out ROCKS! This is like AC/DC from the South.

Area Code 615 - Hey Jude
This is the best cover they've done in my opinion and even rivals the original in terms of building emotion throughout the length of the song.

Area Code 615 - Stone Fox Chase
Area Code 615 - Devil Weed and Me (Buffalo Herd)
Here's where my Soul Spectrum and WW&W interests converge. It's country and funky. Not sure there are any other bands that can come close to this combination of sounds. But feel free to make some suggestions as I'd love to here them.

When the band played the Fillmore in San Francisco in 1970 they got Linda Ronstadt to join them on stage for a couple numbers. She returned the favor and had them back her on a few tracks from her 1970 album "Silk Purse". I picked a couple tracks from these sessions to fill out this post.

Linda Ronstadt - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
A countrified take on this classic Goffin/King tune and check out that phased-out pedal steel!

Linda Ronstadt - Long Long Time
Linda doing her torchy thing on this tasteful arrangement from the AC 615 boys.

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