Gurf Morlix

Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Tribute albums can often be an exercise in tedium, with the new versions of the honoree's songs adding little to the legacy of an artist already well established in people's minds and ears. Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream, however, is a different story, since most of the public at large has never heard Blaze Foley sing his own songs, and pretty much all of his album releases have been posthumous. Many listeners will likely be hearing these songs for the first time. Foley was a fringe-dwelling Austin ne'er-do-well who just happened to have a gift for writing trenchant, touching country-folk tunes, earning the admiration of everyone from Townes Van Zandt to Lucinda Williams, both of whom saluted Foley in song, with "Blaze's Blues" and "Drunken Angel," respectively. Renowned guitarist Gurf Morlix, who has played with Williams and countless other great Americana artists, was also a friend and accompanist to Foley, so his self-produced presentation of 15 Foley songs bears both an insider's edge and an emotional authoritativeness. Morlix's voice is rougher and drier than Foley's baritone, but that just gives his readings an extra sense of immediacy as he delivers some of Foley's finest. The yearning ballad "If I Could Only Fly" is the song Foley neophytes might be familiar with, as it became the title cut of a 2000 Merle Haggard album, but Morlix's version is plenty plaintive. Wet Dream isn't all tear-jerking territory either, with such lighthearted, John Prine-ish tunes (Prine also covered Foley's material) as "Big Cheeseburgers and Good French Fries" elevating the mood, while the moody, rock-tinged "Down Here Where I Am" and "In the Misty Garden" show that Foley had more than rootsy reveries in his repertoire. If a new songwriter emerged with an album full of songs as powerful as these, he'd surely be hailed as a troubadour of tantalizing promise.

blue highlight denotes track pick