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The Open Mind of John D. Loudermilk

John D. Loudermilk

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Album Review

The eye-catching psychedelic art on the cover of 1969's The Open Mind of J.D. Loudermilk is more tongue-in-cheek than a reflection of the music within. Loudermilk, one of the greatest Nashville songwriters of the late '50s and early '60s, seemed to believe that this album would blow the lid off the music world, but it is not nearly as controversial as he suggests in the liner notes. A mixture of conservative and progressive political views, the songs blast the "new morality," the drug culture, and accuse peace protesters of killing policemen. "Goin' to Hell on a Sled" is the most overtly political cut on the album, but "The Jones" critiques Madison Avenue materialism and keeping up with "the Joneses," "Poor Little Pretty Girl" takes a swipe at the objectification of women, and "Brown Girl" looks at interracial romance. Other songs, such as "Nassau Town," are pretty folk-pop ditties of the sort more commonly associated with Loudermilk. The Australian CD reissue adds 15 bonus tracks from albums Loudermilk recorded earlier in the '60s, many of which deal with unconventional subject matter, from the environmental dangers of radioactive fallout ("No Playing in the Snow Today") to eminent domain disputes ("Ma Baker's Little Acre"). One stray track from a single, "That Ain't All," closes the set. Many of these recordings previously appeared on Bear Family's two anthologies of Loudermilk's RCA recordings, but the entirety of The Open Mind of J.D. Loudermilk makes its CD debut here. Collectors of oddball country music, as well as fans of Loudermilk himself, will be delighted to find this cult artifact available on CD.

Biography

Born: 31 March 1934 in Durham, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Although his music isn't exactly weird, John D. Loudermilk is one of the weirdest figures of early rock & roll. Much more famous as a songwriter than a performer (although he made plenty of records), his material was incredibly erratic. He could range from the most mindless, sappy pop to a hard-bitten, bluesy tune that rang with as much authentic grit as a Mississippi Delta blues classic. That tune...
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