This Son Is a Stranger to You
The great thing about being a music fanatic is that there is always something new to discover. This week it’s the final album by Texas songwriter and semi-legend Rich Minus. He died in 2016, but not before being honored by the Texas Songwriters Association in 2015 in the debut class of “Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame” along with notables such Steven Fromholz and Gary P. Nunn. His most recognized song was “Laredo Rose”, which was covered by the Texas Tornados in 1992.
This release, This Son Is a Stranger to You fulfilled a dream long held by Minus, that of recording in Memphis’ Sun Studios. Armed with a top-flight backing band of Steve Potts on drums (Neil Young, Al Green), bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, et al) and the supremely cool John Paul Keith (Ryan Adams, Jack Oblivian) on guitar, Rich performs six heartbreakingly good songs, including “Laredo Rose”, the weeper “Be Good To Me” and roots rocker “Last Night” (in which Keith gives a clinic in tone and taste on guitar). And oh yeah…he sang ’em without a bottom set of teeth, which doesn’t surprise anyone who’s read up on his life, which reads like a classic snatching defeat from the jaws of victory parable, full of drunken nights and lost opportunities.
Minus is thought of in the same regard as his more well-known contemporaries such as Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley, another two well-lubricated Texas songwriters, and his output – full of a sort of wistful melancholy – fits between the two well. Rich Minus had a hard life but what he got out of it was his art, and This Son Is a Stranger to You will give you a taste of that certain magic. RIP, Rich Minus, and thanks.