Next year, The Flatlanders will already have their fiftieth band anniversary. There were a couple of breaks in between, as the three band members are also very successful individually. With Treasure Of Love, they released their tenth album. Release date is 9th July 2021.
The Flatlanders – About The Artists
The three band members of The Flatlanders are Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock. They are from Lubbock, Texas, which is roughly located between Dallas and Albuquerque. The most prominent son of the city is Buddy Holly, very likely. They became very popular and performed until 1973 – but then, the band broke up. From time to time, the appeared on stage, but finally, the reunited in 1998, 25 years later. Fun fact is that during this quarter of a century the band released four albums, which in fact contained the same songs in different order and recordings.
Thus, the first real album of the band was Now Again, released on 2002. It made it into the Top 20 of the US Country Charts. Their most recent album has been The Odessa Tapes, which have been released in August 2012.
The Flatlanders – Treasure Of Love – Track by Track
The fifteen song album lasts 51 minutes. The album contains originals, but also a bunch of songs the band enjoyed to listen to during their long career.
1. Moanin of the Midnight Train
The album starts with an original. A nice traditional country sound, which comes with some nice Southern Rock elements and does not feel too classic and old at old.
2. Long Time Gone
Even though the band’s history is almost half a decade long already – this song, originally performed by The Everly Brothers, is even older. The Flatlanders have this 1958 classic as their second track on the album. A good sound, but on the other hand. Working as a trio adds a nice touch the this version compared to the original. Apart from that, the track is quite close to the original.
3. Snowin On Raton
I am just tempted to comment cheekily that this is the first cover version, which features an original written during The Flatlanders years: Townes Van Zandt had a hit with this track in 1988. The Flatlanders do another nice cover here – but again, I am looking for more special and signature spice in this curry.
4. She Smiles Like A River
I like the sound of She Smiles Like A River, which has been a 1971 success for Leon Russell. The best of the three covers on the album so far. Nice steel guitar work.
5. Love Oh Love Please Come Home
Quite interesting: even though the band had the vast majority of their collaboration in the last 1990’s and the current century, the covers are just traditional so far. Love Oh Love Please Come Home is a very classic country track. I feel that The Flatlanders do overall a good version of it – which is just too slow and could use a bit more rhythm as well. Nice guitar play.
6. Give My Love to Rose
Johnny Cash is always a good option on a country album full of covers. The key issue if you go for songs like that: the original is quite a classic and people tend to love it. The amazing dark voice of Johnny Cash has a lot of character on top of that. I struggle with this 2021 version – and tend to name it a fail.
7. Treasure of Love
Just in the middle of all these songs, the band hides the title track of the album. The key elements of Treasure of Love are truly the shuffling rhythm and the steel guitar elements. A good – but very short (2:09 minutes) listen.
8. Satin Shoes
Satin Shoes feels like an Elvis Presley country song. But the song seems to be a The Flatlanders original – and by that one of the best songs of the album. Yes, it is not modern at all, but the nice shuffle creates a nice vibe and the remaining instrumental and vocal work is really good as well.
9. The Ballad of Honest Sam
This song takes the album back to the early 1970’s. One of the better covers of the album, indeed, which in general feels to be better in this section of songs compared to the beginning to me.
10. Mama Do the Kangaroo
The happy vibe of this song definitely makes me smile. Are there country songs recorded to make kids and German music bloggers happy? This is definitely a candidate!
11. She Belongs to Me
We had Mr Cash – we have to go for Bob Dylan as well. The Flatlanders don’t do that “hard” accentuated way of Bob Dylan songs, but find a nice way to make this song one of their ones – and spread some more classic country feeling sprinkles on it. Good job!
12. I Don t Blame You
This track has been an Ernest Tubb recording originally. After some Flatlanders versions of classic tracks which I felt to be rather enjoyable, I struggle with this one a bit again. Not too bad, but also not a song which is standing out on this record at all.
13. Mobile Blues
The thirteenth track is giving a nice vibe and a nice Southern country touch. Again, the steel guitar take the melodic lead of the instruments. Good.
14. Ramblin’ Man
Ramblin’ Man by The Allman Brothers is likely one of the most well-known songs covered on Treasure of Love. The howling steel guitar and the scrumming (standard) guitar lead to a nice sound. Good version.
15. Sittin’ On Top of the World
The closing track of the album is maybe one of the best songs of the album. The Flatlanders did a great job turning this melancholic-sounding blues track into a cheerful classic country track. The finale comes with the harmonica and the urge to dance.
The Flatlanders – Treasure Of Love – Spotify
Here is Treasure of Love on Spotify:
The Flatlanders – Treasure Of Love – My View
I do struggle with this album: on the one hand, the trio does musically a nice job. On the other hand: what is the message behind a band founded in the early 1970’s (and breaking up for 25 years almost immediately thereafter), which is doing songs which have been majorly recorded even before the history of the three has started? Especially as they say that these tracks accompanied them. Do they do music in the wrong era? Some of their covers are good, a couple of them are a fail and few are really good. The originals are too sparse. The middle of the album is the best part of it – apart from the amazing Sittin’ On Top Of The World. Not bad, but I don’t feel to energized by these songs.