LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Last February, Omnivore Recordings released singer-songwriter JD Souther’s three efforts for Asylum Records on CD, remastered with bonus tracks and new liner notes informed by interviews with Souther. No Depression called them: “A worthy upgrade and a good introduction for those who haven’t yet dug JD Souther.” Relix predicted the reissues would “bring belated appreciation” to the albums. Yahoo! Music wrote: “Kudos to Omnivore for re-introducing Souther and his work to a brand new audience.”
On September 21, 2018, Omnivore Recordings will release the trio of classic albums— John David Souther, Black Rose and Home by Dawn — on high-quality vinyl. All three have been cut from the original analog masters by Kevin Gray at Cohearent, overseen by Souther and Omnivore’s Cheryl Pawelski and pressed at RTI on180-gram vinyl. These new reissues also feature a little bit of updated art on the Black Rose album — no longer featuring the artist name and title, as was originally intended. In every other way, they are presented as they were originally released.
Before he was co-writing #1 Eagles hits like “Best of My Love,” “New Kid in Town,” and “HeartacheTonight” with Glenn Frey and Don Henley, Souther formed Longbranch/Pennywhistle with Frey when they were roommates. Their downstairs neighbor was a fellow by the name of Jackson Browne, who took Souther to audition for his boss, David Geffen, who’d recently formed the Asylum Records label. After hearing two songs, Geffen told Souther to “go make a record.” And, that’s exactly what he did.
John David Souther arrived in 1971, and was immediately a critical success and established Souther as a, if not thesongwriter to watch. (He would be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame 42 years later.)
Co-produced by Souther and Fred Catero (who had recently finished Santana’s Abraxas), John David Souther featured 10 originals — all stunning, and many of which would be covered by artists like Bonnie Raitt (“Run Like a Thief”) and Souther’s old friends the Eagles, who released “How Long” as the first single from their 2007 comeback and multi-platinum smash, Long Road Out of Eden.
John David Souther was, and is, the perfect introduction to the singer and performer behind the songs. Still relevant over four decades later, the recording shows the emergence of one of music’s most influential artists.
After his impressive debut, Souther worked with Chris Hillman (Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers) and Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield, Poco) in the short-lived Souther/Hillman/Furay Band. But, at that same time, his songwriting reputation grew, as friends and colleagues took his material to commercial heights.
Five years after John David Souther, Black Rose appeared. Beautifully helmed by Peter Asher, the album was not only full of incredible songs, but a who’s who of musicians including Lowell George (Little Feat), Joe Walsh, Waddy Wachtel, Jim Keltner, Andrew Gold, Russ Kunkel, Donald Byrd, and Stanley Clarke — with David Crosby, Art Garfunkel, Don Henley and Glenn Frey adding their voices. In addition to the lush production and instrumentation, Souther’s ten songs were again exceptional. Linda Ronstadt had previously recorded “Faithless Love” on her breakthrough Heart Like a Wheel album, and would tackle “Simple Man, Simple Dream” in 1977 — even basing that year’s album title on the song. (For the record, Ronstadt has recorded 10 Souther tracks, a relationship that began with his production on her 1973 album Don’t Cry Now, also named for a Souther composition.)
“Black Rose was an ambitious undertaking, and it took a long time,” Souther states in the liners. “I wanted to use all the musical influences I had, and I really had to dig deep. But when we were finished, I was almost as pleased with it as if it had sold a million copies. Almost.”
Now is the time for those million copies to bloom.
After hitting the Top 10 twice with “You’re Only Lonely” and his duet with James Taylor, “Her Town Too,” Souther released his only 1980s album — Home by Dawn, produced by David Malloy (Eddie Rabbit, Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire).
As Souther took distinctive creative turns with each release, Home by Dawn emerged at the beginning of the new wave of country music. In fact, legendary producer/engineer, and David’s father,Jim Malloy (Townes Van Zandt, Eddy Arnold, Sammi Smith), told Souther, “You were about 15 minutes ahead of your time!” That timing was confirmed when Dixie Chicks covered “I’ll Take Care of You” on their 12x platinum Wide Open Spaces.
The album has steadily earned a reputation as the groundbreaking and influential statement it was, and continues to be. From rock to roots-rock to rockabilly, Home by Dawn took Souther in a direction reflecting his Texas upbringing. Now is the perfect time to discover — or rediscover — it.
John David Souther track listing:
1. The Fast One
2. Run Like A Thief
3. Jesus In 3/4 Time
4. Kite Woman
5. Some People Call It Music
1. White Wing
2. It’s The Same
3. How Long
4. Out To Sea
Black Rose Track Listing:
1. Banging My Head Against The Moon
2. If You Have Crying Eyes
3. Your Turn Now
4. Faithless Love
5. Baby Come Home
1. Simple Man, Simple Dream
2. Silver Blue
3. Midnight Prowl
4. Doors Swing Open
5. Black Rose
Home By Dawn Track Listing:
1. Home By Dawn
2. Go Ahead And Rain
3. Say You Will
4. I’ll Take Care
5. All For You
2. Don’t Know What I’m Gonna Do
3. Bad News
4. All I Want