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Jack-Knife Gypsy

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iTunes Review

Paul Siebel continues in the folk-storyteller mode that made his debut release, Woodsmoke and Oranges, so memorable. This time out, the Buffalo-born singer/songwriter opts for a more produced sound, enlisting such notable guest players as Byrds guitarist Clarence White and Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw. Siebel’s pinched, road-seasoned vocals give these tunes the feel of traditional ballads (albeit somewhat surreal ones). Narratives like “Jasper and the Miners,” “Legend of the Captain’s Daughter," and the title track add weird twists to familiar tales of working men, bandits, and fair maidens. With quick strokes, Siebel sketches portraits of oddball losers (“Uncle Dudley”), barroom angels (“Hillbilly Child”), and hapless outlaws (“Pinto Pony”), mixing absurdist humor with pathos. Dark ruminations like “Chips Are Down” are lightened by the reverent “Prayer Song.” Robert Zachary’s production combines country-rock arrangements with touches of strings and brass in spots. Lyrically vivid and filled with idiosyncratic personality, Jack-Knife Gypsy recalls Townes Van Zandt and Jimmie Dale Gilmore in its hard-bitten visionary grace.

Customer Reviews

Solid folk- rock album

I picked this up on vinyl recently with no knowledge of the singer. i love singer-songwriter type albums from the early 70's and this fit the bill. Its a nice mix of folk, rock and pop. Bernie Leadon (future Eagles) plays on it as well as session-man extraordinaire Russ Kunkel. Favorite songs include If I Could Stay and Jack-Knife Gypsy. After further research I found out his debut is a cult classic. This one can't be far behind.


Born: 1937 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Despite the undeniably high quality of his songs -- which have been covered by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Ian Matthews, and Waylon Jennings -- Paul Siebel is far from being a household name. Within folk circles and among songwriters, however, his two albums, 1969's Woodsmoke and Oranges and 1971's Jack-Knife Gypsy, are legendary. Siebel was born in 1937 in Buffalo, NY. Inspired by Hank Williams and Hank Snow, he taught himself to play guitar while in his teens. By the early '60s,...
Full Bio
Jack-Knife Gypsy, Paul Siebel
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