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Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

4.5 out of 5 stars 258 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 30 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B000007Q8J
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 258 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,651 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Right In Time
2. Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
3. 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
4. Drunken Angel
5. Concrete And Barbed Wire
6. Lake Charles
7. Can't Let Go
8. I Lost It
9. Metal Firecracker
10. Greenville
11. Still I Long For Your Kiss
12. Joy
13. Jackson

Product Description


Lucinda Williams makes this whole music thing seem so simple: Write in plain language about the people and places that crowd your memory; add subtle flavors of a mandolin here, a Dobro there, perhaps an accordion or slide guitar; above all, sing as honestly and naturally as you can. Of course, it took her six years to achieve this simplicity, an amazing achievement considering the number of knobs that were turned. Her exquisite voice moans and groans and slips and slides--she delivers a polished tone in a coarse manner. On the superb "Concrete and Barbed Wire", soft acoustic guitars are punctuated by electric slide, accordion, mandolin, and Steve Earle's harmony. Williams's deeply personal stories are matched with bluesy rumbles, raunchy grooves, and plaintive whispers. The entire Deep South is reduced to a sleepy small town filled with ex-lovers, dive bars, and endless gravel roads. --Marc Greilsamer

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you haven't heard Lucinda Williams, there is simply no way to describe the perfection of the way her southern trailer-park twang unites with her dazzling, bluesy country-rock music. I frankly do not quite understand why she isn't a superstar. If this album had come out in 1970, she'd be more famous that Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carol King, and Judy Collins put together. Is this album better than the Byrd's "Sweetheart of the Rodeo?" Yes. Is it better than the Stones "Beggars Banquet?" Yes. This is one of the best rock/country albums ever recorded. But beware, if you buy it, you'll drive all your friends nuts telling them how great Lucinda Williams is.
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Format: Audio CD
When I listen to the title track, "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," I drift away and reminisce about growing up as a little girl in rural Georgia, thinking how the whispered conversations of adults were always shrouded in a mystery I'll never feel again now that I'm grown up, and a car ride through the countryside would just happened like magic when Mom said it was time to go ... Never mind the fact that I grew up as a little boy in the suburban Northeast -- that's how powerful and evocative Lucinda's lyrics are on this album.
Lots of great songwriters tell unforgettable stories. But Lucinda makes you feel what she's feeling, with her moods, her emotions, and the places she's been and the people she's known becoming real and vivid and larger than life when she sings. She's also put together a band capable of bringing out the impact of her songs, from the blistering blues of "Can't Let Go" and "Joy" to mellow singin' and pickin' on "Concrete and Barbed Wire" and "Jackson." This is one of those albums that feels like an old best friend, where every note is familiar but it never gets old. If you're reading this and considering a purchase then I envy the chance you have to fall in love with this album for the first time.
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By A Customer on Jan. 12 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is the CD where our little Lucinda, who had been a well-kept secret for years, was discovered by the general public. It was successful for good reason beyond record company support. While "Car Wheels" doesn't have many of those songs you can't help singing along with, unlike her previous recordings, it's more satisfying in its consistency and its poetry. The devil is in the details, and she gets them just right in most of the songs here. One day when there's a 'best of' set, half of these songs will be candidates, and the first two songs will be essential. Lucinda Williams' voice is harder on my ears than any singer/songwriter I can think of, but she is one of the best lyricists around when she's at her best. On "Car Wheels" she is often at her best.
This is by no means a perfect CD, and on re-listening to all of Ms. Williams' CD's after all these years, I'm not still sure this is my favorite. Much of the instrumentation sounds dated, and she's not in top vocal form, even for her, or even always on key. Yet there are so many remarkable moments. The perfect description of childhood in the title track and the simmering sensuality of "Right in Time" are unspeakably evocative. Her joyous cover of "Can't Let Go" takes her love of the blues and runs with it perfectly. "Greenville" is nicely done - when Lucinda doesn't try to cut loose vocally she can be great, and the Emmylou harmony is lovely. "Joy" and "Jackson" are classic Lucinda in their understated and repetitive lyrics that somehow manage to go straight to the heart of the matter. The former just hits you in the gut.
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By A Customer on March 13 2004
Format: Audio CD
On her journey though the South Lucinda Williams pulls material from a lot of relationships that don't work out. Uniquely, she is neither bashing nor whiney. While there were a number of abuses and betrayals, there was always something there which melded the relationship together. In a world of shining smiles or broken arms, she is little tiny bruises and a single red rose, just a picture of subtle simplicity. While Williams tells her tales you get the sense you could overheard the same stories at a family reunion or a bar.
The album starts off with the lusty "Right In Time," which showcases Williams suffusing more lust into a single "OOOOOHHHH my baby" than a stable of bare belly buttons and sheet writhers. Williams then breaks to set the scene in the title track "Sittin' on the front porch, a house in Macon/Loretta singing on the radio." Williams then saunters into her favorite little hole in the wall bar in "2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten," a place full of legendary blues singers, snake handlers and truisms. "Drunken Angel" is a driving, edgy rock tale of looking back with loss at a self destructive boyfriend. Williams conj ours the ghost of Howlin' Wolf for some old school Southern blues on "Concrete and Barbed Wire." "Lake Charles" is one of the more country feeling song on the album, a casual tale of a man's love for his adopted hometown. Williams then dons a sultry blues pout for a rare cover song, Randy Weeks' "Can't Let Go." This opens into a full on wail for the most fun Williams has on the cd and possibly ever, the falling in love tune "I Lost It," which finds her teasing a love interest with "I think I lost it/let me know if you come across it.
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