Shagrat Records is honoured to release Lawrence Hammond’s second and until now unissued solo LP, Presumed Lost.
Although the initial release is on a CD, a vinyl version is being prepared.
Those of you who bought last year’s Mad River archive set Jersey Sloo will know that after the band split up, singer, bassist, guitarist and song writer Hammond embarked on a solo career in the 70s that saw him pursue a rootsier path, one that revealed his deep love of country and blue grass music.
Lawrence released one fine solo LP called Coyote’s Dream on the Takoma label and performed regularly with his backing outfit, the Whiplash Band. Though sales of the Takoma release were disappointing, he did begin work on a second solo set finishing it in 1981 whilst in med school. The tapes were subsequently lost for well over a decade but have been finally rediscovered and restored for release some 35 years after they were first recorded.
1. Red-Dirt Texas Fiddler
2. Nevada McCloud
3. Papa Redwing Blackbird
4. Little Britches
5. West Texas Border Patrol
6. John Deere Tractor
7. Love for the Hunter
8. The Heavenly Saga of Flight 641
9. Pale Moon on the Pecos
10. Lone Star Blues
11. Tumbleweed Plantation
Using many of the musicians that made Coyote’s Dream such a joy, including lead guitarist James Louis Parber, fiddle player Byron Berline, Alan Lane on bass, Bill Weingarden on pedal steel, and featuring Lawrence on lead vocals, acoustic and acoustic lead guitars, dobro, mandolin and viola, Presumed Lost sees the Hammond come of age as one of American music’s great story-tellers. Packed full of his eloquent tales of hardship, love and death, and occasional flashes of real humour (The Heavenly Saga of Flight 641), Presumed Lost is a treat from start to finish.
In amongst the country ballads and road songs that ooze with gritty realism and conjure up utterly believable characters and situations from the American heartland, are such gems as the enchanting Papa Redwing Blackbird with its glorious soaring flute and classic West Coast harmony vocals, and the dark, almost sinister Love for the Hunter. Arguably though, the centrepiece of the record is the epic West Texas Border Patrol, a story of heart-rending tragedy and broken friendship set against the majestic backdrop of the Rio Grande, crammed full of startling cinematic images, and brought to life by a sparse musical soundtrack that puts one in mind of the melancholic grandeur of Procul Harum at their late 60s best. And on this outing, Lawrence has finally got to air his own version of John Deere Tractor, a song he wrote way back when, which has been recorded by many over the ensuing decades including Jerry Corbitt, Larry Sparks, and of course the Judds, who enjoyed a huge hit with it.
Presumed Lost S(a Shagrat/Soft Cloud release) is available from 16th November as a limited edition CD with 16 page booklet containing comprehensive sleeve notes and many rare photos from the era.
Vinyl junkies please note that Shagrat are planning a VERY limited vinyl edition early in the New Year. Keep checking the website for updated details