Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ALLEN, Terry

(b 7 May '43, Wichita KS) Singer- songwriter, pianist; also sculptor and painter. Raised in Lubbock TX; art school in LA '62. First album Juarez '75 is a very spare production, a concept album of story songs recorded in San Francisco; more albums made on trips to Lubbock: Lubbock (On Everything) '78 was a two-disc set of cleverly observed songs with recitations, strings here and saxes there, about loneliness, memories of '50s ('Pink And Black Song'), being an art teacher etc; 'Cocktails For Three' (with a cabaret/Latin beat) is about two people trying to meet after work, always joined by a lonely salesman; 'Thirty Years War Waltz' is about meeting Jo Harvey Allen at a high school dance, the combination of iconoclastic humour, irony and sentimentality impossible to describe. 'New Delhi Freight Train' and 'Amarillo Highway' were covered respectively by Little Feat and Bobby Bare. Smokin' The Dummy '80 featured a band with Lloyd, Kenny and Donnie Maines, guests Ponty Bone, Joe Ely and others now called the Panhandle Mystery Band: a tough, driving delivery of a superb set of songs about places, coming and going in the USA: highway song 'The Heart Of California' was dedicated to Lowell George, 'Whatever Happened To Jesus (And Maybelline)?' was partly a good cover of the Chuck Berry classic, also 'Cajun Roll', 'Cocaine Cowboy', 'The Night Cafe', 'Texas Tears', more. Bloodlines '83 was more of the same, with 'Gimme A Ride To Heaven Boy', sarcastically anti-terrorist 'Ourland', useful revivals of 'Cantina Carlotta' and 'There Oughta Be A Law Against Sunny Southern California' from Juarez. A rare appearance in London '86 was covered by TV's Whistle Test incl. 'Gimme A Ride To Heaven Boy'. (Smokin' The Dummy and Bloodlines on one CD from Sugar Hill '97.) Pedal Steal/Rollback combines soundtracks/music dramas commissioned by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Co. ('Pedal Steal' is the first track on the CD, 35 minutes not listed on the label) and another for a Bruce Nauman film/Jenkins dance (Allen songs plus 'Home On The Range'), premiŠred '85 and '88 respectively. The Silent Majority is a 68-minute compilation of 'out-takes, in-takes, mis-takes' etc: 'High Horse Momma', left off a CD edition of Lubbock; 'Cocktail Desperado' from David Byrne's film True Stories; a version of 'New Delhi Freight Train' (and other tracks) made in Madras with Indian sidemen, and tracks from other productions incl. Rollback, Pedal Steal, Paul Dresher's Pioneer, JoAnne Akalaitis's prod. of Georg B]auu[chner's Leon And Lena (And Lenz), Wolf-Eckart B]auu[hler's film Amerasia '84 etc. Lubbock CD is on Sugar Hill USA, Special Delivery UK; others on Fate. Human Remains '96 on Sugar Hill was Allen's first studio set since '83, songs with tough words and lineups incl. Byrne, Maines Bros etc. Musical play Chippy premiŠred '94 has songs by Terry and Jo Harvey Allen, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Wayne Hancock, Robert Earl Keen and Jo Carol Pierce (on Hollywood Records, dist. WEA).