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The Best of Joe Ely

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iTunes Review

It’s ironic that Joe Ely may now be best recognized as a member of the reunited Flatlanders — once so unknown they were called “more a legend than a band” — than for his three decades of solo recordings. This packed Best Of, however, makes the case for Ely as one of the finest artists trading in what was once called “progressive country.” Drawn from two separate stays at MCA, the 20 sharply chosen tracks include a number of classics from the pens of Ely and Flatlander cohorts Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock, mixing large doses of rock and folk and sheer Texas poetry. Ely’s admirers have even included the Clash; the versions of “Fingernails” and “Long Snake Moan” featured here were cut on a UK tour he spent opening for the band. A true inheritor of Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, Joe Ely equally deserves hearing.

Customer Reviews

Real American Music for a Great Price!

In my opinion, Joe Ely is the greatest country artist who ever lived. His music is an embodiment of the American spirit; free, fun, beautiful, interesting, strong, and influenced by surrounding cultures(a great deal of Ely's music was influenced by that of the Mexican immigrants he encountered during his childhood). This album contains twenty of Joe Ely's best songs, which is a really great buy for $9.99. My only complaint is that songs such as "Row of Dominoes", "Lord of the Highway", "Run Preciosa" and some of his London performances from "Live Shots" were not included on this album. Even if you're one of those people who thinks all country is just a bunch of twangy nonsense, buy "The Best of Joe Ely" now. You won't regret it.

Joe Ely Has It All!

Buddy Holly may be the most famous singer/songwriter from Lubbock, but there's a goldmine of talent from this north Texas city, and Joe Ely is one of it's best. This record also features tunes written by his fellow Lubbock "Flatlander" band-mates Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. This record is a great collection, but by no means does it showcase all of Ely's gems. Cool Rockin' Loretta exemplifies Joe's abiltiy to take a tongue twisting lyric and turn into a straight-up rocker that packs a punch like a Texas tornado. Songs like "Honky Tonk Masquerade", "West Texas Waltz", and "Me and Billy the Kid" show Joe's range as a country singer, and "She Never Spoke Spanish to Me" is a classic by Butch Hancock that has been a staple of Joe's live sets for years. Joe can play and sing rock, country, swing, two-step, blues, or ballad's with the best of them. I once heard Kris Kristofferson say Joe was one of his heroes. Pretty effusive praise from one of America's songwriting legends. Joe's music is the perfect example of Texas Dance Hall music, with great songs like "Must Notta Gotta Lotta" and "Fingernails". Joe paints great musical pictures with songs like "Boxcars" and "Suckin' A Big Bottle of Gin". Open a cold one, sit back, relax, and listen to true Texas music done the way it should be. You won't be settin' for long, Bubba!

One of the Best in any Musical Genre

This is a killer songwriter, musician, and a great person. I am surprised the there are no songs from "Love and Danger." The Road Goes on Forever comes to mind. Anyway. Joe Ely writes excellent story songs. He hangs with a crew of other underappreciated musicians like Dale Gilmour, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, etc... Every song is great. Worth the price of admission.


Born: February 9, 1947 in Amarillo, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Country-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist Joe Ely was born Earle R. Ely on February 9, 1947, in Amarillo, Texas. His family had worked for the Rock Island Line railroad dating back to the start of the century. When he was 12, the family moved to Lubbock, Texas, where his father ran a used clothing store. Inspired by seeing Jerry Lee Lewis perform when he was a child, Ely aspired to a musical career, and he briefly took violin and steel guitar lessons before turning to the guitar. His father died when...
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