Lucinda Williams (album)

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Lucinda Williams
Lucinda williams cover.jpg
Studio album by Lucinda Williams
Released 1988
Recorded June 1988
Studio Mad Dog Studios in Venice
Genre Alternative country, roots rock, Americana, blues
Length 38:35
Label Rough Trade
Producer Gurf Morlix, Dusty Wakeman, Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams chronology
Happy Woman Blues
(1980)Happy Woman Blues1980
Lucinda Williams
Sweet Old World
(1992)Sweet Old World1992

Lucinda Williams is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. It was produced by Williams with Dusty Wakeman and Gurf Morlix, and released in 1988 by Rough Trade Records. An alternative country and roots rock record about the complexities of romantic relationships, Lucinda Williams was met with critical acclaim upon its release and has since been viewed as a leading work in the development of the Americana movement.

Music and lyrics[edit]

Before Williams was signed by Rough Trade Records, she had struggled shopping her demo of the album: "The L.A. people said, 'It's too country for rock.' The Nashville people said, 'It's too rock for country.'" Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis said of signing Williams in 1987, "We were big fans of the Southern literary tradition. We recognized that Lucinda was writing serious songs, but with the wit and humor of real rock'n'roll."[1]

According to Spin magazine's Keith Harris, Lucinda Williams has since been classified as alternative country,[1] while NPR's Claudia Marshall called it a roots rock record that fuses country, blues, folk, and rock music.[2] With its synthesis of folk, rock, country blues, and Cajun music, Uncut magazine said it may be seen as one of the earliest records in the alternative country scene.[3] Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, called it a blues record and remarked that Williams plays "joyously uncountrypolitan blues".[4] Greg Kot wrote in the Chicago Tribune, "like the music, which drifts between the lonesome worlds of country and blues, the lyrics can't be pinned down: They speak of the ambivalence that shades love and loss."[5]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
American Songwriter 5/5 stars[7]
The Austin Chronicle 5/5 stars[8]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[5]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[9]
Mojo 5/5 stars[10]
PopMatters 9/10[11]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[13]
The Village Voice A–[14]

Lucinda Williams was released by Rough Trade in 1988 to rave reviews from critics.[15] It was voted the 16th best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll.[16] In a review for the newspaper, Christgau called Williams a passionate but grounded songwriter and wrote that, apart from the great "I Just Wanted to See You So Bad" and "Passionate Kisses", the rest of the album is good and relies on "a big not enormous, handsome not beautiful voice that's every bit as strong as the will of this singer-by-nature and writer-by-nurture".[14] He ranked the album sixth-best in his list for the poll,[17] and later graded it an "A" in his 1990 book Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s.[18] Rolling Stone magazine's Steve Pond gave the album three-and-a-half out of five stars in a contemporary review and felt the unadorned musical approach occasionally exposes some unpleasant lyrics and hesitant singing, but it also makes Williams sound like an honest narrator to listeners as she avoids clichés and evasive language in her songwriting.[19] After the mainstream success of Williams' third album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams was reissued with bonus tracks in 1998,[6] and by January 2000, it had sold 100,000 copies in the United States.[20]

According to AllMusic's Vik Iyengar, Lucinda Williams has been "recognized as a classic" since it was first released. Iyengar saw Williams as a meticulous composer whose voice and tough perspective work well with her music's mix of country, blues, folk, and rock styles on the album: "In addition to writing strong melodies, Williams is an amazing songwriter with a knack for writing a lyric that acknowledges the complicated nature of relationships while cutting right to the heart of the matter."[6] In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Dave Marsh said she had progressed astonishingly over her previous work, transitioned confidently into rock music, and made her songs more interesting with darker lyrics: "There's not a false step, and the depth of feeling is powerful."[13] In 2005, Spin ranked Lucinda Williams at number 39 on their list of the "100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005".[1] Upon its 25th anniversary rerelease in 2014, Will Hermes of Rolling Stone credited it for being at the forefront of the Americana movement,[12] and Robin Denselow called it "an Americana classic" in The Guardian,[9] while Stephen M. Deusner wrote for CMT that it is "a roots-rock landmark, ground zero for today's burgeoning Americana movement".[21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Lucinda Williams except where noted.

  1. "I Just Wanted to See You So Bad" – 2:25
  2. "The Night's Too Long" – 4:15
  3. "Abandoned" – 3:45
  4. "Big Red Sun Blues" – 3:27
  5. "Like a Rose" – 2:37
  6. "Changed the Locks" – 3:39
  7. "Passionate Kisses" – 2:35
  8. "Am I Too Blue" – 2:55
  9. "Crescent City" – 3:01
  10. "Side of the Road" – 3:27
  11. "Price to Pay" – 2:46
  12. "I Asked for Water (He Gave Me Gasoline)" (Chester Burnett) – 3:43
Additional live bonus tracks on 1998 reissue
  1. "Nothing in Rambling" (Live at KPFK)
  2. "Disgusted" (Live at KPFK) (Lil' Son Jackson)
  3. "Side of the Road" (Live at KPFK)
  4. "Goin’ Back Home" (traditional) (Live at NOISE)
  5. "Something About What Happens When We Talk" (Live at KCRW)
  6. "Sundays" (Live at KCRW)

25th anniversary re-issue[edit]

On January 14, 2014, the album was re-issued on Lucinda Williams' own label. It includes the original 12-track album, and a bonus disc featuring a 1989 live concert from the Netherlands, recorded on May 19, 1989, and six additional live tracks. All songs are by Lucinda Williams unless noted otherwise.[22]

Live at Effenaar, Eindhoven, Netherlands, May 19, 1989
  1. "I Just Wanted to See You So Bad"
  2. "Big Red Sun Blues"
  3. "Am I Too Blue"
  4. "Crescent City"
  5. "The Night’s Too Long"
  6. "Something About What Happens When We Talk"
  7. "Factory Blues"
  8. "Happy Woman Blues"
  9. "Abandoned"
  10. "Wild and Blue" (John Scott Sherrill)
  11. "Passionate Kisses"
  12. "Changed the Locks"
  13. "Nothing in Rambling" (Kansas Joe McCoy)
  14. "Sundays"
Additional live bonus tracks
  1. "Nothing in Rambling" (Live at KPFK)
  2. "Disgusted" (Live at KPFK) (Lil' Son Jackson)
  3. "Side of the Road" (Live at KPFK)
  4. "Goin’ Back Home" (traditional) (Live at NOISE)
  5. "Something About What Happens When We Talk" (Live at KCRW)
  6. "Sundays" (Live at KCRW)


  • Lucinda Williams – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Gurf Morlix – vocals, guitars, mandolin, dobro, pedal steel, lap steel, six-string bass
  • Dr John Ciambotti – Fender three-string bass, stand-up bass, Kramer-Ferrington bass
  • Donald Lindley – drums

Additional musicians:

  • Skip Edwards – keyboards
  • Juke Logan – harmonica
  • Doug Atwell – fiddle
  • Steve Mugalian – washboard
  • Chris Gaffney – accordion
  • Jim Lauderdale – backup vocals
  • Pat Quinn – backup vocals


  1. ^ a b c "100 Greatest Albums". Spin. New York (July): 82. 2005. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ Marshall, Claudia (August 30, 2007). "Lucinda Williams: Roots-Rock and Raw Nerves". NPR. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ Uncut. London (February): 97. 2014. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1989). "Dancing on a Logjam: Singles Rool in a World Up for Grabs". The Village Voice (February 28). New York. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Kot, Greg (1989). "Lucinda Williams". Chicago Tribune (April 6). Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Iyengar, Vik. Lucinda Williams at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 August 2005.
  7. ^ Horowitz, Hal (2014). "Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams". American Songwriter (January 6). Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  8. ^ Caligiuri, Jim (2014). "Review: Lucinda Williams". The Austin Chronicle (January 24). Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Denselow, Robin (2014). "Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams 25th Anniversary Edition – review". The Guardian (January 16). London. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  10. ^ Mojo. London (March): 105. 2014. 
  11. ^ Layman, Will (January 17, 2014). "Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams (25th Anniversary Release)". PopMatters. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Hermes, Will (January 16, 2014). "Lucinda Williams Album Review". Rolling Stone. New York (1200). Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Marsh, Dave (2004). "Lucinda Williams". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 875–876. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1988). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (November 22). New York. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  15. ^ France, Kim (1992). "Lucy in the Sky". Spin. New York (December): 26. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  16. ^ "The 1988 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice (February 28). New York. 1989. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  17. ^ Christgau, Robert (1989). "Pazz & Jop 1988: Dean's List". The Village Voice (February 28). New York. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. 
  19. ^ Pond, Steve (January 26, 1989). "Lucinda Williams > Album Review". Rolling Stone (544). Archived from the original on May 5, 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2007. 
  20. ^ Bukowski, Elizabeth (January 11, 2000). "Lucinda Williams". Salon Media Group. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  21. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (January 20, 2014). "Lucinda Williams Looks Back at Her Breakthrough". CMT. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  22. ^ Williams, Lucinda (November 19, 2013). "Lucinda Williams track listing". Pledge Music. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 

External links[edit]