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Steve Young | Primal Young (Spit & Polish)
Steve Young's career extends as far back as the earliest country rock recordings, his debut Rock, Salt and Nails released in 1969 featured guest turns from no less than Gram Parsons, Gene Clark and Chris Hillman. His industry-unfriendly folk, blues or gospel virtuosity is probably the reason that he's not afforded greater recognition today. Young is best known as a songwriter for others, the most obvious example of this being Lonesome On'ry & Mean famously recorded by Waylon Jennings and now regarded, ironically, as his signature tune. Primal Young, in part, reverses this idea and pays homage to some of the songs which provided him with inspiration - five covers alongside the six Young originals or folk adaptations. Probably the best known of these is the Lloyd Price penned Elvis Presley hit Lawdy Miss Clawdy which whilst performed by Young acoustically and much slower is no less rock 'n' roll than the original. Young boasts a superbly rich voice - occasionally reminiscent of Richard Thompson or even Jackie Leven on Scotland Is A Land - his impressive guitar skills (hear his particularly fine picking on East Virginia), a further reason for celebration. Fortunately, like the narrator on the excellent Tom T. Hall song The Year Clayton Delaney Died, also featured here, Steve Young chose to ignore the advice offered to him "He used to tell me, boy you ought to throw that old guitar away. There ain't no money in it. It will lead to an early grave". I guess, like his old friend Van Dyke Parks, who incidentally guests here on accordion on several tracks, Young has chosen to do his own thing and that's something we should all be grateful for.

Geraint Jones
CWAS #6 - Autumn 2000

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