Terry Allen, born in Kansas but raised in Texas, debuted with the acoustic
album Juarez (Fate, 1975), a soundtrack to an imaginary film,
whose somber ballads sustain a mood and a dramatic tension despite the spare,
(Cantina Carlotta, There Ought To Be A Law Against Sunny California).
Allen matured as a musician with the nostalgic double album
Lubbock (1979), a stylitic tour de force (encompassing blues, tex-mex,
honky-tonk, etc) that contains some of his most lively vignettes:
New Delhi Freight Train, High Plains Jamboree,
Pink And Black Song, Amarillo Highway,
Thirty Years War Waltz, The Beautiful Waitress.
The singles Cajun Roll (1979) and
Whatever Happened to Jesus (1979),
and the highlights from the powerful, eclectic and demented
Smokin' The Dummy (1980), such as
The Heart Of California, Whatever Happened to Jesus,
Cocaine Cowboy, Cajun Roll, Night Cafe,
crowned the creative outpour of the 1970s, but the following decade turned
out to be much more subdued, as Allen focused on his second career as a
The gospel-tinged Bloodlines (1983), with
Gimme A Ride To Heaven Boy,
The Arizona Spiritual (1983) and Cocktail Desperado (1986),
and the film soundtrack Amerasia (1990), did not amount to much.
The concept album Human Remains (Sugar Hill, 1996), which contains the
autobiographical and self-incriminating After The Fall (about the
excesses of the hippy era), and the satirical
Salivation (Sugar Hill, 1999), an indictment of organized religion,
returned Allen to his favorite sport.
The Silent Majority (Fate, 1992) collects rarities.
Allen then began a new life as a maker of multimedia narrative installations
such as Youth in Asia (1990) and Dugout (2004).
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