May 02, 2006
Fuel 2000
Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Psychedelic, Folk-Rock

Album Review

An Introduction to John Stewart is not, as the cover would lead one to believe, a compilation of his best-known tracks, though certainly some of those are here. It is instead a complete reissue of his first two solo albums, California Bloodlines issued in 1969 and Willard, issued in 1970, both by Capitol Records. Both albums have been deeply influential for their easy blend of country and folk sounds, and many of the songwriters from the L.A. singer/songwriter scene -- Jackson Browne and Rick Nelson among them -- spent lots of time listening to them. While John Stewart is best known for "Daydream Believer" that the Monkees scored with, and later "Gold" (neither of which are here), it is these two albums that show his true gift as a songwriter and storyteller. These recordings have not been available domestically on CD before, so this is a real treat. If only Fuel had been able to reproduce the original artwork, or had been more truthful in their presentation, this would have been a much more attractive package. The music, however, doesn't lie. This is deep, heady stuff with a sense of possibility and innocence. And if that dates music, so be it, but these are masterpieces and should be considered by anyone interested in American songwriting.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. California Bloodlines
  2. Razor-Back Woman
  3. She Believes in Me
  4. Omaha Rainbow
  5. The Pirates of Stone County Road
  6. Shackles and Chains
  7. Mother Country
  8. Some Lonesome Picker
  9. You Can't Look Back
  10. Missouri Birds
  11. July, You're a Woman
  12. Never Goin' Back
  13. Big Joe
  14. Julie, Judy, Angel Rain
  15. Belly Full of Tennessee
  16. Friend of Jesus
  17. Clack Clack
  18. Hero from the War
  19. Back in Pomona
  20. Willard
  21. Golden Rollin' Belly
  22. All American Girl
  23. Oldest Living Son
  24. Earth Rider
  25. Great White Cathedrals
  26. Marshall Wind