Terry Allen Juarez on LP + Download
Definitive Edition of Allen's 1975 Debut Remastered from the Original Analog Tapes in Collaboration with the Artist Himself!
Legendary Texan artist Terry Allen occupies a unique position straddling the frontiers of country music and visual art; he has worked with everyone from Guy Clark to David Byrne to Lucinda Williams, and his artwork resides in museums worldwide. Widely celebrated as a masterpiece – arguably the greatest concept album of all time – his spare, haunting 1975 debut LP Juarez is a violent, fractured tale of the chthonic American Southwest and borderlands. Produced in collaboration with the artist and meticulously remastered from the original analog tapes, this is the definitive edition of the art-country classic: the first reissue on vinyl; the first to feature the originally intended artwork (including the art prints that accompanied the first edition); and the first to contextualize the album within Allen's fifty-year art practice.
Juarez is not just an album, at least not in any ordinary sense of the word. Songwriter/visual artist Allen describes it instead as a "haunting." For nearly five decades, Juarez has served as the elusive, enigmatic axis mundi of his artistic and musical practices. Never discrete or static, the Juarez mythos continually accretes a growing constellation of new meanings, mutations, and manifestations, defying linearity and finality, appearing as drawings, constructions, songs, prints, installations, texts, a screenplay, a musical theater piece (co-written with David Byrne), a one-woman stage play, and an NPR radio play (both starring his wife, the actor and writer Jo Harvey Allen).
Herein Juarez inhabits the ur-corrido sonic artifact, a cycle of fifteen songs and recited poems – austere, atmospheric, cinematic – as recorded over the course of a few mornings at San Francisco's venerable Wally Heider Studio in 1974. Its stately, minimal arrangements – Allen on piano and vocals, with guitarists Peter Kaukonen (Link Wray, Jefferson Airplane, Black Kangaroo) and Greg Douglas (Van Morrison, Peter Rowan, Steve Miller Band) – belie its sinister, mongrel strangeness, its anxious hilarity, its casual alloy of spirituality and profanity, its uncanny enormity as story.
Originally released in 1975 by print workshop Landfall Press in an edition of fifty, with a set of nine lithographs (reproduced in full for the first time in the reissue's extensive book), the record encompasses both conceptual corrido and cosmic cartography, song and séance, at once hermetic and wide-open. In these fifty-two minutes, geographies, climates, and spectral bodies collide and elide, dragged and fate-flung across the parched Southwest, over mesas and arroyos and through the abraded lens of colonial history, throwing dust, shedding blood, and further blurring the already arbitrary, and forever contested, boundaries of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.
Forty years later, Juarez is widely regarded as Allen's first masterpiece, timelessly relevant, resonating with works of film and literature as much as other music, recalling the existential violence of Terrence Malick's Badlands (1973) and informing successors like David Lynch's Wild at Heart (1990), Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy (1992-98), and Roberto Bolaño's 2666 (2004). Paradise of Bachelors will also reissue Terry Allen's critically acclaimed 1979 double album Lubbock (on everything), the follow-up to Juarez, later in 2016.