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Jesse Winchester: Jesse Winchester

[cover art]

Jesse Winchester first gained notice as a protege of the Band's Robbie Robertson, who produced and played guitar on his debut album and brought along bandmate Levon Helm to play drums and mandolin. The album had much of the rustic Southern charm and rollicking country-rock of the Band. Winchester's other immediate appeal was a certain sense of mystery. A Southern American expatriate living in Canada, he was unable to appear in the U.S. to promote the album, which was released in a fold-out LP jacket that featured the same sepia-toned portrait (which looked like one of those austere Matthew Brady photos from the Civil War era) on each of its four sides. Winchester emphasized the dichotomy between his southern origins and his northern exile in songs like "Snow" (which Robertson co-wrote), "The Brand New Tennessee Waltz" ("I've a sadness too sad to be true"), and "Yankee Lady." Jesse Winchester was timely: It spoke to a disaffected American generation that sympathized with Winchester's pacifism. But it was also timeless: The songs revealed a powerful writing talent (recognized by the numerous artists who covered them), and Winchester's gentle vocals made a wonderful vehicle for delivering them. (Originally released by Ampex in 1970, Jesse Winchester was reissued by Bearsville Records in 1976 and again in 1988 by Rhino/ Bearsville).
--William Ruhlmann, All-Music Guide

In his book, Levon Helm mentions that he also did some work on Jesse Winchester's second album, although no members of the Band are credited on that one. The liner notes to the second Winchester CD mention that another "second" album was completely recorded, but not released. This may explain what Levon Helm worked on.

The entire Jesse Winchester album was included on the 2000 2-CD release Anthology/ Jesse Winchester.


(all songs by Jesse Winchester, except track 3)
  1. Payday
  2. Biloxi
  3. Snow (J.Winchester/J.R.Robertson) [RealAudio]
  4. Brand New Tennessee Waltz
  5. That's a Touch I Like
  6. Yankee Lady
  7. Quiet About It
  8. Skip Rope Song
  9. Rosy Shy
  10. Black Dog
  11. Nudge


  • Guy Black, drums
  • Bob Boucher, bass
  • Al Cherney, violin
  • Levon Helm, drums
  • Garth Hudson, organ
  • Dave Lewis, drums
  • Ken Pearson, keyboards
  • David Rea, guitar/vocal
  • Robbie Robertson, producer/guitar
  • Jesse Winchester, guitar/keyboards/vocal

Jesse Winchester - Jesse Winchester - 1970 - Ampex A-10104
Compact Disc: Stony Plain 4054 1198 (1995)

AMG Rating: 7 (out of 9)

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