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The Flatlanders

Live '72 – 2004 (New West)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by The Flatlanders

The magic of The Flatlanders surfaced early - at least that's what listeners will hear on this 16-song long hidden gig from June 1972 at the One Knite in Austin where Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock were based.

Austin producer Jim Yanaway told Joe Ely about the tape in spring 2003, a rarity such an old recording existed considering the band initially lasted less than one year and only played about 15 gigs. And they have club owner Gary Oliver to thank for the tape. Gilmore handled most leads, and his voice hasn't changed a whole lot over the decades. It was high pitched ten and a very fine instrument (Hancock's "The Stars in My Life," one of only two songs written by the band played that night). A few songs that the band still plays to this day ("So I'll Run") sounded great back then too. They throw in good covers like "Honky Tonk Blues" and close with "Jole Blon."

Ely sang a few songs, but his voice lacked the timbre it does today. Hancock didn't sing at all for some reason. A few songs are lacking production-wise, and the crowd noise comes through a decent amount - all 15 to 20 of them apparently.

But make no mistake - while this kind of release might raise eyebrows about a label trying to cash in on some lost, inferior recording, this is more a testament to the early greatness of a not very well known band.