A man of many talents, Terry Allen is a visual and conceptual artist who also plied his hand at Country music, recording several pioneering "Americana" albums decades before the term had been coined. He grew up in Lubbock, TX, in the same generation as indie-billy legends such as Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock (who formed the Flatlanders trio) as well as his wife, actress Jo Harvey Allen, who is also his frequent collaborator. Here's a quick look his musical works...
Terry Allen "Juarez" (Fate, 1975)
Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band "Lubbock On Everything" (Fate, 1979)
A classic of the genre, from back in the days when "outlaw" was over and "alt-country" had not yet been invented. The way I hear it, they're not supposed to have fancy, smarty-pants performance artist intellectuals in Bumbump, Texas -- but I guess nobody told that to Terry Allen, or to his wife Jo Harvey Allen. What started as jocular dabbling in hick iconography has turned into a respectable gig. Not the catchiest, most melodic country music ever made, though a few early tunes did have a bit of a bounce to them... especially on the first album, where Little Feat leader Lowell George pitches in on a few songs. Personal faves include the goofy "Truckload of Art," where creative types from the boonies rent a U-Haul in order to take their wares to New York City (...and show those Gotham snobs a thing or two!) and "The Great Joe Bob (A Regional Tragedy)," which dissects the myth of the football All-American as upstanding citizen. Interesting material, which may take a bit of effort to appreciate.
Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band "Smokin' The Dummy" (Fate, 1980)
Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band "Bloodlines" (Fate, 1983)
Terry Allen "Pedal Steal" (Fate/Sugar Hill, 1985/2006)
"Sounds From True Stories: Music For Activities Freaks" (Soundtrack) (Sire, 1986) (LP)
Terry Allen contributes one song, "Cocktail Desperado" from this David Byrne-produced film. I remember this as being a pretty terrible movie...
Terry Allen "Amerasia (Soundtrack)" (Sugar Hill, 1987)
Terry Allen/Various Artists "SONGS FROM CHIPPY" (Hollywood, 1994)
An interesting, compelling compilation album that was also the soundtrack for a theatre piece starring Jo Harvey Allen, and Jo Carol Pierce... Included on the ride are Joe Ely, Terry Allen, Butch Hancock, Robert Earl Keen, Wayne Hancock, who I believe made his debut on this album... Definitely worth checking out.
Terry Allen "Human Remains" (Sugar Hill, 1996)
Terry Allen "Salivation" (Sugar Hill, 1999)
Terry Allen & Jo Harvey Allen "Ghost Ship Rodez: A Radio Play" (2006)
Terry Allen "Al's Grand Hotel: Live, May 7th, 1971" (Orion Read, 2012) (LP)
Terry Allen "Bottom Of The World" (TLA, 2013)
Terry Allen "The Silent Majority: Terry Allen's Greatest Missed Hits" (Sugar Hill, 2004)
Hick Music Index