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McMurtry, James (Ed Ricardo):

Bob Dylan is said to be very taken by the work of James McMurtry and has said he writes like a poet. Is he in Karl Erik's Who's Who? Anyone know who he is, or have opinions about him?

akp1@edu.uchicago.midway (Adam K. Powers):

James McMurtry is the son of novelist James McMurtry (Streets of Laredo), and was 'discovered' by John Mellencamp. James has two albums on Columbia/CBS/Sony/whatever:

             Too Long in the Wasteland (1989)
             Candyland (1992)

Too Long... is one of my favorite albums - it's a spare, bleak view of life in the rural American midwest with a wry twist of humor every now and then. "Painting by Numbers" is a very down-beat Dylan-esque song that was released as a single but didn't score big on the charts. The whole album holds together very well; McMurtry has great skill in using minor descriptive details in his lyrics to add to the atmosphere. His singing voice isn't great, but he doesn't try to strain for melody; he opts for a deadpan delivery that works in his favor, almost a rustic Lou Reed style.

Candyman is a lesser effort, but is still pretty good. Some of the songs here seem like re-hashes of the first album, but others like "Piedras Negras" move toward Tex-Mex stories. Dylan may have referred to McMurtry as a good poet but I'd say good storyteller is more accurate. (a handsome guy)(Ray Friedman):

Well, I myself am quite taken with McMurtry. He's the son of hit author Larry McMurtry (LonesomeDove) and he's a terrific writer himself. He's put out two albums, I think. I have what I believe is the second, called Candyland. It's all about coming to terms with what the U.S. has become. McMurtry admits that "I'm just a bit confused," and reaches out to the listener, desperately asking "Would you be my friend through the ages, watch the decades driftin' by. and read to me from dusty pages of the echoes of our lives." Really good stuff!! He's on the Columbia label, so his stuff shouldn't be too hard to find. Hope this helped. Take it easy, but take it. (Michael J. Stern):

That's fascinating. I have long been a fan of both, and never realized that they were related. James's most successful song is called "Safe Side," I think. It's beautiful and eery.

Who's Who