Rough Trade Records was home for post-punk bands such as the Smiths, but in 1988 the London indie label released a self-titled album by the Louisiana-born Lucinda Williams, in a move that gave country music – and the new hybrid style, Americana – its biggest boost among British rock audiences since Joe Ely toured with the Clash. The album has been unavailable for a decade, but is now rereleased on Williams' own label, along with 20 live tracks, 14 of them previously unreleased, from a concert in Holland in 1989. And it deserves to be heard again. It includes the rousing country rocker Passionate Kisses, later a hit for Mary Chapin Carpenter, the epic narrative The Night's Too Long, which echoes Springsteen at his best, the gently charming Like a Rose, and some impressive blues tracks, including Howlin' Wolf's I asked for Water (He Gave Me Gasoline). An Americana classic.
Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams 25th Anniversary Edition – review
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop