Alabama-born songwriter Lee Clayton was closely identified with the "outlaw country" movement, having his first big success in 1972 when Waylon Jennings recorded his song, "Ladies Love Outlaws." He pursued songwriting as well as a performing career, recording several albums with a wide stylistic range. Here's a quick look at his work...

Discography - Best-Ofs

Lee Clayton "Border Affair: The Capitol Years" (Acadia, 2008)
A 2-CD set combining the albums Border Affair, Naked Child, and The Dream Goes On.

Lee Clayton "The Essential Lee Clayton: 1978-1981" (Repertoire, 2001)

Discography - Albums

Lee Clayton "Lee Clayton" (MCA, 1973)

Lee Clayton "Border Affair" (Capitol, 1978)
(Produced by Neil Wilburn)

Lee Clayton "Naked Child" (Capitol, 1979)

Lee Clayton "The Dream Goes On" (Capitol, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Chip Young & Lee Clayton)

There is some pretty dreadful rock-oriented material on here, sludgy, thumpy stuff that I suppose had some sort of "new wave" component, like Joe Ely's early '80s work, or looking further down the road, like what folks like Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtry and Tom Russell would delve into in the late '80s and '90s, rough-hewn, post-post-Dylanesque poetical stuff wedged together with rock power chords and "tough" sounding rhythms. There are many Americana fans who live for that kinda stuff, though by and large I'm not one of them. Clayton is definitely pushing the envelope on this one, not just because he's all electrified and whatnot, but also because he frequently goes outside of conventional vocal phrasing, practically mumbling his lyrics without trying to hard to keep inside the meter or tempo. A few songs have a softer, folkier side, like "Won't You Give Me One More Chance" (which features modest harmony vocals from Deborah Allen) or "Oh, How Lucky I Am," a spiritually-inclined cosmic lullaby with a children's chorus backing Clayton while he thanks the stars (literally) for the bounty of the universe. Sounds a little cloying, perhaps, but it's probably the album's most accessible track... Clayton seems to have been reaching for broader philosophical horizons to impart, but the bland '80s production is pretty hard to get past... An idiosyncratic album, for sure, and I suppose fascinating for those who are willing to overlook the music itself.

Lee Clayton "Another Night" (Provogue, 1990)
A live album...

Lee Clayton "Spirit Of The Twilight" (Provogue, 1994)


Hick Music Index

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