Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-1972
Light in the Attic
With an artist as prolific as Kris Kristofferson, it’s nice to take a look back at his career while he’s still productive. With 20+ albums and dozens of movie roles under his belt, he’s a man who has spanned the decades and left behind a mass of folk, country, and pop material. This 16-cut collection lets us peek into the demos that got his career rolling.
There’s a shockingly unarranged “Me and Bobby McGee” — it’s just Kris and a guitar singing in a flat, nearly monotone manner that reveals the bones of the song. At the other end of the production scale “Getting By, Getting High, and Getting Strange” adds backup singers but keeps the rhythm section simple with Kristofferson pounding the sound board when he needs a drum riff. He flubs the opening twice, issues some good-natured profanity, and charges into a great night club presentation. Not everything here is a hit or near hit, but with a man of this caliber, even the misses aren’t all that bad — the dark “Border Lord” has confusing lyrics, but the vocals pull you in just as they do on “Little Girl Lost.” “If You Don’t Like Hank Williams” is better known and an invitation to a friendly bar fight, and “Billy Dee” is the biography of a person you’d swing the beer bottle at.
Along with this easygoing album is an extensive booklet illustrating the story of Kristofferson. Lyrics, recording notes, and interviews with Dennis Hopper and Merle Haggard all bring these sessions to life. And like all CD inserts, the type is cramped and hard to read without a magnifying glass. CDs may have better sound quality, but vinyl always gave you better liner notes.
Light in the Attic: lightintheattic.net