Looks Like Rain

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Looks Like Rain
Studio album by Mickey Newbury
Released 1969
Recorded 1969
Genre Country
Label Mercury (original release)
Saint Cecilia Knows (2011 reissue)
Drag City (2011 vinyl reissue)
Producer Bob Beckham & Jerry Kennedy
Mickey Newbury chronology
Harlequin Melodies
Looks Like Rain
Frisco Mabel Joy
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Rising Storm (Favorable)[2]

Looks Like Rain is the 1969 concept album by singer-songwriter Mickey Newbury. After recording his debut album with RCA, Newbury was dissatisfied with the resulting album and left RCA to pursue a style closer to his tastes. Recorded at Cinderella Sound, as his next two albums would be, the result is widely considered his first real recording and represents a peak in the singer songwriter movement, especially for Nashville. The sound and style of the record would be highly influential during the Outlaw Movement during country music in the 1970s especially on albums by David Allan Coe and Waylon Jennings. Linking the tracks with delicate arrangements and liberal amount of atmosphere (almost all tracks feature rain sound effects), the record contains some of Newbury's most celebrated compositions including "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye", "The Thirty-Third of August," "I Don't Think About Her No More", and "San Francisco Mabel Joy". Allmusic's review of the album concludes "Looks Like Rain is so fine, so mysterious in its pace, dimension, quark strangeness and charm, it defies any attempt at strict categorization or criticism; a rare work of genius."

Looks Like Rain was collected for CD issue on the eight-disc Mickey Newbury Collection from Mountain Retreat, Newbury's own label in the mid-1990s, along with nine other Newbury albums from 1969-1981.

In 2011, it was reissued again, both separately and as part of the four-disc Mickey Newbury box set An American Trilogy on Saint Cecilia Knows, alongside two other albums recorded at Cinderella Sound, Frisco Mabel Joy and Heaven Help The Child. This release marks the first time that Looks Like Rain has been released on CD in remastered form, after the original master tapes (long thought to have been destroyed in a fire) were rediscovered in 2010.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Mickey Newbury; except where indicated

  1. "Wrote A Song A Song/Angeline"
  2. "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye" (Mickey Newbury, Doug Gilmore)
  3. "I Don't Think About Her No More"
  4. "T. Total Tommy"
  5. "The 33rd of August"
  6. "When The Baby In My Lady Gets The Blues"
  7. "San Francisco Mabel Joy"
  8. "Looks Like Baby's Gone"

Selected cover recordings[edit]

"San Francisco Mabel Joy" was heavily covered as both a folk and country song in the early 1970s. In an early 2000s interview Newbury considered "San Francisco Mabel Joy" his most successful song, in part because the five minute plus song was a radical departure at a time when most country songs ran around two and a half minutes; Newbury also stated that in 2000 it was selected as one of "the top 100 folk songs of the past century." Joan Baez recorded the song for her 1971 hit double album Blessed Are... along with "Angeline" and "The 33rd of August." Waylon Jennings included his version on his 1973 breakthrough Lonesome, On'ry and Mean. The song was also featured on Kenny Rogers' 1978 country smash The Gambler, and John Denver's recording is on his 1981 album Some Days Are Diamonds. The Box Tops recorded a presumably early version under the title "Georgia Farm Boy," which was included as a bonus track on the 2000 reissue of The Letter/Neon Rainbow. Newbury used the song as the title track to his 1971 follow-up album, even though it did not initially appear on the album, a new version was featured on his 1973 album Heaven Help The Child, it was included in a live version on the 1973 concert album Live At Montezuma Hall.

Jerry Lee Lewis had a #2 hit with "She Even Woke Me Up To Say Goodbye" in 1969 which became the title track of a top ten album in 1970. A total of 51 artists have cut versions of the song including Roy Orbison, Keith Richards, Kenny Rogers, and Ronnie Milsap.

"The 33rd of August" has been recorded by David Allan Coe on his 1974 Columbia Records debut The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy. Waylon Jennings' version appeared on his 1970 album Waylon, while Willie Nelson and Joan Baez have also recorded the song. Gordon Lightfoot cut a version of the song before leaving United Artists that is still unreleased.

"Angeline" appeared on Joan Baez's Blessed Are... It was also recorded by Alex Harvey and J. David Sloan.

"I Don't Think About Her No More" has also been recorded under the title "Poison Red Berries." Tammy Wynette recorded the song on her 1974 album Woman to Woman, Bobby Bare recorded it in 1973, and Don Williams' version appeared on his second country album in 1974.