George "Butch" Hancock, raised in the dusty plains of Texas, is one of the
most significant singer-songwriters from Lubbock.
Hancock, Joe Ely and Jimmy Gilmore formed the Flatlanders
in 1970, and recorded One Road More (Plantation, 1972), reissued as
More A Legend Than A Band (Rounder, 1990).
Influenced by Woody Guthrie, Butch Hancock set out to compose, produce and
distribute his own solo records of bleak acoustic ballads.
His first three albums,
West Texas Waltzes & Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes (Rainlight, 1978),
that contains West Texas Waltz,
the double album The Wind's Dominion (Rainlight, 1979), that contains the
10-minute Dylan-ian ramble Only Born,
and Diamond Hill (Rainlight, 1980) are classics in that vein,
although there is little variation among them.
Hancock's gift as a songwriter is mainly on display on other musicians'
albums. Among his most poignant compositions are
If You Were A Bluebird (1977),
Tennessee is Not the State I'm In (1977),
She Never Spoke Spanish To Me (1977),
Suckin' A Big Bottle Of Gin (1977),
Standin' At The Big Hotel (1979),
Fools Fall In Love (1979), Down On The Drag (1979).
The twin albums
1981 A Space Odyssey (Rainlight, 1981) and
Firewater (Rainlight, 1981) were recorded at the same session.
Other than a few collaborations, Hancock did not record much new material
during the 1980s: just Cause Of The Cactus (Rainlight, 1987).
Own & Own (Demon, 1988 - Sugar Hill, 1989) and
Own The Way Over Here (Sugar Hill, 1993) are anthologies with rarities.
In the 1990s he opted for a more commercial sound with
Eats Away The Night (Sugar Hill, 1995) and
You Coulda Walked Around The World (Rainlight, 1997).
Hancock, Joe Ely and Jimmy Gilmore reformed the Flatlanders for
Hills And Valleys (2009).
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