Saturday, August 31, 2019

Lucinda Williams - Pretty Little Poison - Various Songs (1994-1998)

In 1992, Lucinda Williams released her acclaimed album "Sweet Old World," and in 1998 she released her even more acclaimed album "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." The six years between albums was a very long time for someone still in the early arc of their career. This album shows she still recorded a lot of good music in those "missing years." If you enjoy "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," you should enjoy this.

All but one song is officially released, and that one song was recorded for radio, so the sound quality is uniformly excellent. Most songs come from tribute albums and other various artists collections, as well as duets that appeared on other people's albums. Two of the songs are bonus tracks from "Car Wheels."

A majority of the songs are covers, including: "You Don't Have Very Far to Go" (Merle Haggard), "Positively 4th Street" (Bob Dylan), "Cowboys to Girls" (The Intruders), "Apartment No. 9" (Tammy Wynette), "You're Still Standin' There" (Steve Earle), "Here in California" (Kate Wolf), and "Come to Me Baby" (Howlin' Wolf).

UPDATE: On May 12, 2020, I updated the mp3 download file. The first three songs here - "All I Want," "Pancakes," and "Main Road," were moved from the previous album in this series. That's because that album got too long after I found four more songs for it. I also found one new song for this album, "The Farm."

Furthermore, I updated the original song "Blaze" from being a bonus track for two reasons. One, I found a much better version of it in terms of sound quality. Two, I thought it was merely an early version of the song "Drunken Angel" found on her 1998 album "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." But after listening to this new version carefully, I realized that although the songs are about the same person and the phrase "drunken angel" is mentioned in "Blaze," they're really different songs.

Finally, the above changes meant five more songs were added to this album. So I move four songs to the next album in this series ("Here in California," "Down the Big Road Blues," "Out of Touch," and "Come to Me Baby").

01. All I Want (Lucinda Williams)
02. Pancakes (Lucinda Williams)
03. Main Road (Lucinda Williams)
04. You Don't Have Very Far to Go (Lucinda Williams)
05. Positively 4th Street [Acoustic Version] (Lucinda Williams)
06. How Can I Sleep without You (Julian Dawson & Lucinda Williams)
07. Blaze (Lucinda Williams)
08. Cowboys to Girls (Chris Gaffney & Lucinda Williams)
09. You're Still Standin' There (Steve Earle & Lucinda Williams)
10. Breakfast in Bed (Donnie Fritts & Lucinda Williams)
11. The Farm (Lucinda Williams)
12. Apartment No. 9 (Lucinda Williams)
13. Pretty Little Poison (Robbie Fulks & Lucinda Williams)

For the cover art, I used a photo of Williams in concert from either 1998 or 1999, I'm not sure.


  1. Are you sure about "The Farm"? I believe that project was re-released in 2012. Maybe I'm confused. Thanks for everything you share with us.

    1. Thanks for pointing that. I just checked and it looks like Williams' song wasn't on the original 1997 version, only the 2012 rerelease. Weird. I've never seen that with a tribute album before. But the question is did she record her version in 1997 or 2012? Does anyone know?

    2. Yeah, that's the question. Sources say Lucinda's recording was released in 2012 but nothing about a recording date. Once again, thank you.

    3. So what do you think I should do? Move it to 2012? Maybe someone with a really good ear could tell the difference in her voice between 1997 and 2012? I'm not that good.

    4. I'm not sure. In my collection you would find it in 2012, i like chronological order, but I'm open to change it as soon as someone give us an answer.

    5. I think I figured out a way to get the answer on the year here. I looked up the other artists who have "new" tracks on the 2000s version: Grandaddy, Chuck Prophet, John Wesley Harding and two guys from Calexico. If any of them weren't putting out records in 1997, that would be a smoking gun that at least some of those tracks were recorded later. But all of them had put out records and were known before 1997. So I'm thinking all the songs were recorded around 1997.

      The alternate doesn't make much sense. The tribute album was specifically made to help pay for Rainer Ptacek's medical bills when he was very ill. He died shortly thereafter. So why the heck would someone ask Lucinda Williams and others to record new songs for the album over a dozen years later? What makes way more sense to me is that there were more songs recorded than needed in 1997, and some of them didn't make the final cut. Then, years later, a "deluxe" version was released with those extra songs finally included. What do you think?

    6. I think it's a very good answer, it makes sense. Thanks!