Paul Siebel “Woodsmoke and Oranges”

Woodsmoke and Oranges

Certainly a musician’s musician kind of record, Woodsmoke and Oranges ought to have a shot on anyone’s shelf. Siebel’s debut is a laid-back set of incredibly strong songs, maybe nothing to knock you out on the first listen, but iron solid in its replay value and a proud, essential piece of any songwriter, folk, or country rock collection.

She Made Me Lose My Blues kicks off with one of the hottest intro licks I’ve ever heard from the pedal steel. Can’t complain about that sound, can you? Paul may not possess one of the all-time vocal deliveries, but with tunes as nice as this it just doesn’t matter, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. A ton of better known artists wanted to give a try on these gems, particularly a fine little lament called Louise (mp3s), which has been covered by Plainsong, Leo Kottke, and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others. A nice country rock groover in Nashville Again with some jazz-influenced changes on Miss Cherry Lane and Ballad of Honest Sam. A soft rainy ending, Long Afternoons, tightly seals the deal on this record’s necessity to a larger audience than a small circle of folk collectors.

Woodsmoke was recorded on the quick with top-shelf musicians including the fantastic David Bromberg, Richard Greene (Muleskinner), and one Weldon Myrick on steel. The 2004 Rhino reissue includes 1971’s equally good follow-up, Jack Knife Gypsy, boasting an astoundingly impressive personnel.

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“She Made Me Lose My Blues”

:D CD Reissue | 2004 | Rhino | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | Elektra | search ebay ]

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  • CD

    How was this guy so overlooked and under-appreciated? The only time I ever heard one of his songs played on the radio was when I visited Europe in 1980. I was driving through Belgium, and they were playing his version of “In the Jailhouse Now.”

    Linda Ronstadt did a cover of “Louise” on her album “Silk Purse,” and Bonnie Raitt covered the song on her album “Sweet Forgiveness.”

    And in his introduction to “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33,” Kris Kristofferson cites Paul Siebel (along with eight or nine others).

  • avlktsvra

    Yeah, I don’t know. I heard him once or twice in the late ’60s on WBAI in New York, and saw him play once at the Bitter End around the same time. He was a consummate pro, a brilliant songwriter, and I don’t understand why he didn’t persist. Personal reasons, no doubt. He’s baking bread “somewhere in the south, I heard them say.” Lucky we at least have those albums. Paul Siebel was about as good and authentic as it gets.

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