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Lucinda Williams

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road deluxe edition – 2006 (Lost Highway)

Reviewed by Brett Leigh Dicks

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CDs by Lucinda Williams

Eight years after its original release comes the remastered version of Lucinda Williams' magnum opus. Impeccably packaged and bolstered by the inclusion of three bonus tracks - one of which is a scintillating alternate version of "Still I Long For Your Kiss" - and a period live recording, one can't help but delight in this exquisite offering. This a recording bathed in a turbid yet celebrated history. Semantics and accolades aside, the 13 compositions that encompass the original recording still shimmer brightly in their languid beauty and will still give many contemporary releases a run for their money. Which raises the obvious question - why re-release this album now?

Don't take this wrong, Williams' 1998 World café performance that graces disc two offers a delightful trip down memory lane and is an enchanting and valuable addition. But in the live stakes, her recent tour through southern California saw Williams at the top of game. In listening to the recording, you realize she is even better now. Given that this Road first introduced the bevy of fans that currently embrace Williams' work, this release can't be targeting a new audience. But perhaps the folks at Mercury/Universal are just like other fans - their copies of the original were so scuffed and played to death that it was about time to replace it.