Kris Kristofferson - Please Dont Tell Me How the Story Ends - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Kris Kristofferson - Please Dont Tell Me How the Story Ends

by Louise Harlow Rating:8 Release Date:2010-05-10

Mr Kristofferson I'll be honest. I feel I, like many, have done you a disservice. I have neglected and overlooked you, and unfairly so. You are the man who spent long hours slaving as a janitor at Columbia records, while future contemporaries such as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Janis Joplin recorded your songs, to critical acclaim. But let us belatedly overcelebrate Mr K's magnificence, with the birth of Light in the Attic Records' celebratory 50th release, of his 1968 to 1972 demos.

The press release waxes lyrical about 'never before heard recordings' and 'lavish' vinyl gatefolds, which is of course a bit of an irrelevancy where KK is concerned; the lily needs no gilding. The album opener, his original, pre-Janis take on 'Me and Bobby Mcgee', benefits from a perfectly nuanced performance, and is arguably far more affecting than Joplin's interpretation. As the tracklisting rumbles on, Kristofferson seduces you with tales of stolen freedom on the road ('Border Lord') the tricksome moreishness of mind-altering class As ('Gettin' By, High and Strange') and flat-out evil women who will rip out your miserable heart and stamp on it ('Duvalier's Dream').

A release comprised solely of demos can be dangerous, (LITA has re-mastered the soundtrack) but Kristofferson's troubadour style lends itself perfectly to this bare-bones format. Tracks like 'The Lady's Not For Sale' show him, much like Leonard Cohen, to be primarily a man of poetry, often rendering his minimal acoustic picking irrelevant. Although the occasional, unexpected interruption from a sound technician (as on the title track) puts a dent in any lyrical pathos, it's worth it to hear the bourbon-soaked tones of Kristofferson's spoken voice.

And while this is an album which undoubtedly feeds on the exquisite misery of bad women and good times gone sour, my personal favourite has to be the highly instructive 'If You Don't like Hank Williams'. Pull up a chair, pour something stiff, and toast the only man who can rhyme 'sexy Mama Cass' and 'kiss my ass' with his credibility still perfectly intact.

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