Leaps n Bands #37: Jim Stafford – Spiders n Snakes (1973)

The Jemtunes ‘Leaps n Bands’ series is, throughout 2020, featuring a track by track expose of the albums that have spoken loudest to me over the years.

But Jemtunes 32-41 features 10 singles instead. Mainly because, when many of us now of a certain age first started buying records, the format of choice was the humble 45. And there was a lot of influence there.

Spiders & Snakes” is a 1973 hit song recorded by Jim Stafford and written by Stafford and David Bellamy. It was the second of four U.S. Top 40 singles released from his eponymous debut album and also the highest-charting. The lyrics in the verses are spoken, while only the chorus is sung. And I still know every word, even after forty-six years. Must have listened to it a lot.


Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand (The ’59) #302

The ’59 2018 #302: 181029

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand (2007)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 49 – 2007.

Raising Sand is a Grammy-award winning collaboration album from  Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, released on October 23, 2007 by Rounder Records.

It won Album of the Year at the 2008 Americana Music Honors & Awards and at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

Johnny Cash – American IV (The ’59) #270

The ’59 2018 #270: 180927

Johnny Cash – American IV (2002)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 44 – 2002.

American IV: The Man Comes Around is the 87th studio album by Johnny Cash. Released in 2002, it is the fourth in Cash’s “American” series of albums.

The majority of songs are covers which Cash performs in his own sparse style, with help from producer Rick Rubin. For the Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus” cover, Rubin asked then-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante to re-work an acoustic version of Martin Gore’s song, which featured a simple acoustic riff that stripped down the song to a blues style. He receives backing vocal assistance from various artists, including Fiona Apple, Nick Cave, and Don Henley.

American IV was the final album Johnny Cash released during his lifetime. It was also his first non-compilation album to go gold (selling over 500,000 copies) in thirty years. Additionally, the album won “Album of the Year” award at the 2003 CMA Awards. It was certified gold on March 24, 2003 and platinum on November 21, 2003 by the R.I.A.A.

Patsy Cline – Showcase (“The ’59”) #015

“The ’59” 2018 #015: 180115

Patsy Cline – Showcase (1961)

Recorded with The Jordanaires and released November 27 1961. ‘Showcase’ was Patsy Cline’s second studio album.

It produced two singles. The first, “I Fall to Pieces,” became Cline’s first number one hit and also reached the Top 15 on the pop Top 100 in 1961. The follow-up single, “Crazy,” peaked in the top five of the charts and in the Top 10 on the pop Top 100.

Sadly, Cline aged just 30 in March 1963 after a multiple-fatality crash of the private plane of her manager, Randy Hughes. After her death, “Showcase” was re-released on Decca and peaked for the first time in the charts, reaching number 73. It was also reissued in 1973 by MCA Records (which took over Decca in 1973) and it was later digitally remastered and re-released on a CD/LP/Cassette in 1988, which included the same cover as the 1963 re-release.

Showcase was also released internationally. In 1961, the album was released in the United Kingdom by Brunswick Records and in New Zealand by Festival Records.

Johnny Cash – Ride this train (“The ’59”) #012

“The ’59” 2018 #012: 180112

Johnny Cash – Ride this train (1960)

Ride This Train was Johnny Cash’s eighth studio album. It was originally released in September 1960 and re-issued on March 19, 2002 with four bonus tracks.

It’s considered to be Cash’s first concept album and is billed as a “travelogue”, with Cash providing spoken narration before each song to give context, in several cases playing historical characters, such as John Wesley Hardin, and describing different destinations around the United States visited by train. The songs themselves are not generally railroad-themed.

The original album was included on the Bear Family box set ‘Come Along’ and ‘Ride This Train’. The success of this LP inspired his first label, Sun, to release the compilation LP, ‘All Aboard the Blue Train’ which consisted of previously released “train” inspired songs, including the hit, “Folsom Prison Blues”.