The "twangcore" and "Americana" boom of today owes a large debt to the shaggy twangers and no-hit wonders of yesteryear -- this section looks at the hippiebilly and stoner bands and a few odd, random artists from the 1960s, '70s and early '80s, back before there was anything called "alt-country." This page covers the letter "F."
Dick Feller "Dick Feller Wrote" (United Artists, 1973)
Dick Feller "Some Days Are Diamonds" (Elektra Asylum, 1975)
What hits Feller had as a songwriter haven't held the public imagination over the years -- I think "Uncle Hiram and The Homemade Beer" and Jerry Reed's version of the anti-automobile anthem, "Lord Mr. Ford" may just about cover it. Still, these two albums have some really charming gems on them. With several Nashville cats in the studio band, these songs often hit a nice stride, although Feller is hardly what you'd call a great singer. Part of the charm is the improbability of a craggy-voiced fellow like Feller making records -- and part of it is the quality of the songs. "Money, Trouble and Love," "Let It Ride," and "Goodbye California" are pretty catchy; unfortunately there probably isn't enough of his stuff to merit a retrospective disc... but who knows?
The Flatlanders - see artist discography
Kinky Friedman "Kinky Friedman " (1974)
Kinky Friedman "Lasso From El Paso" (1976)
Ole Kinky tried really hard to be as much of a pain in the ass to as many people as possible back in the '70s... and he did a pretty good job of it! A brash assault on the redneck ramparts of country music, Friedman arrogated a chunk of hick music history all to himself, in his persona as "The Texas Jewboy". Classic Kinky tracks include 1974's "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore," wherein a modern Member Of The Tribe mops up the barroom floor with his redneck opponent, and "Get Your Biscuits In The Oven (And Your Buns In The Bed)," which in the late '70s so offended the feminist community of Santa Cruz, California, that they mounted a boycott campaign against the legendary hippie country station, KFAT, which cheerfully played the song morning, noon and night. Mr. Friedman is currently working as a mystery writer and is not, contrary to popular belief, enrolled in the Federal Witness Protection Program.
This anthology will probably serve as the definitive collection of this '70s cult-hero Austin songwriter, delving into material from eight different albums, and tossing in a duet with Willie Nelson for good measure. Personally, I've never a huge Fromholz fan -- a lot of his stuff is too wordy and leaden for me, and as a singer his phrasing is a bit stiff. He's sort of like a gruff-voiced cross between Fred Neil or Hoyt Axton and Townes Van Zandt, with Townes's lofty poetic aspirations being the dominant part of the equation. For those who groove on the whole latter-day literary cowpoke, windblown Texas-mythologizing ethos, Fromholz will be a real treat, but if you just wanna hear some fun country songs that you can tap your toes to, this disc will mostly be slow going. This disc includes songs like "Blue Lines On White Linen" and "Ain't It Nice To Be Alone" hold up pretty well, but the lethargic, solomn "Texas Trilogy" are a bit much, as far as I'm concerned. But if you want to check the guy out, this is the place to start.
Steven Fromholz "A Guest In Your Heart" (Crystal Clear Sound, 2001)
Hick Music Index