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Big Mouth USA: The Unissued Paramount Album

Jim Ford

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Shortly after cutting 1969’s Harlan County, Jim Ford was flown to London to record his second album in Olympic Studios with pub rockers Brinsley Schwartz. But after a few days of trying to learn Ford’s songs, the band couldn’t cut it; then Joe Cocker’s seasoned guns (The Grease Band) were hired, but they couldn’t hack it either. Save for the title track and its simmering b-side, “Rising Sign,” the project was shelved and the tapes lost until 2009, when surfaced recordings were sewn together and produced tastefully to assemble what should have been Big Mouth USA. The album picks up right where Harlan County left off. Ford boogies on some swampy twang, sounding like the early '70s never ended—especially on the organic percussion supplying the groove to “He Turns My Radio On.” The hard-grooving “Family Tree” is a standout track, with a big, brazen horn section and backing gospel singers, while the slow-burning “Mixed Green” kisses new life into the short-lived country-funk subgenre. “Big Bouquet of Roses” salts up the roadhouse beers with teary-eyed Bakersfield honky-tonk balladry.

Biography

Born: 23 August 1941 in Harlan County, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '00s

Originally from New Orleans, Jim Ford lost interest in his academic pursuits and, in 1966, drifted out to California. He was passing through L.A., on his way to the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco, when he met two session musicians, Pat and Lolly Vegas. The Native American rockers — who later formed the commercially successful Redbone — had worked on the Shindig television show at the time, and had already recorded their Pat and Lolly Vegas at the Haunted House album for Mercury....
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Big Mouth USA: The Unissued Paramount Album, Jim Ford
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