One of my favorite albums of the last few years is Peter’s Cooper’sMission Door. A great combination of great music and lyrics. Well, Peter just released a new album and for this album Peter teamed with steel guitar great Lloyd Green and the album is appropriately titled The Lloyd Green Album and it is quickly moving to the top of my favorite album list!
Peter initially recorded each song with just vocals and his guitar. Then he turned the album over to Lloyd, who worked his magic and composed some great pedal steel symphonies to go with the songs. Then the other instruments were added: guitar by Richard Bennett, who has worked with Mark Knofler and Steve Earle, keyboards and accordion were added by Jenn Gunderson, a member of Last Train Home, Pat McIerney added the drums, and finally a host of folks including, Kim Carnes, Rodney Crowell, Eric Brace and others added harmony vocals. Together they have created a great album!!
Five of the twelve tracks on the album are Cooper originals and two are co-writes. The composers of the five non-Cooper tracks include a Cooper favorite, Tom T Hall, Chris Richards, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Kris Kristofferson, and John Hiatt.
The album opens with an autobiographical track “Dumb Luck” as Peter states that he’s mostly muddled through life through dumb luck! One of the co-writes comes next “The Last Laugh” co-written with Todd Snider (another of my favorites) This song appeared on Snider’s The Excitement Plan and this is Peter’s version and the humor of both songwriters shines through on this track. Probably my favorite song “Elmer the Dancer” comes next. The song is a great track about a Milwaukee concertina bar as time moves on and everything changes. Opps, did I say that last track was my favorite I actually meant the next song “The Gospel Song” was my favorite.”The Gospel Song” along with “That Poor Guy” explores the world of sad sack sinners. I love the lyrics:
Living with the penance from the sins that you always denied,
there’s gonna be some wreakage,
when your dreams and your habits collide.
Two songs that Peter borrowed from others follow first, Chris Richards “The Bells of Odilia” a “Sunday Morning Coming Down”esque song, with another great line “you can’t know you’re pure, until you stand next to sin! Then Tom T Hall’s classic “Mama Bake a Pie” which Peter included in an article he wrote for American Songwriter Fifty Songs that Every Songwriter should know!
“Champion of the World” follows and then the first of two train songs Emmylou and Rodney’s “Tulsa Queen” a track where Lloyd’s steel guitar provides that lonesome feel! The John Prine influenced “That Poor Guy” is next followed by my favorite track “What Dub Does” (I as just trying to see if you were paying attention but it is a favorite!) A song about a Zelig like figure of the Nashville music scene!
The final two tracks are Kris Kistofferson’s “Here Comes the Rainbow” and a song that John Hiatt penned but never recorded “Train to Birmingham” again another train song and Lloyd’s outtro is great!
So see what happens when an album has great tracks and I write about them all! Well to wrap it up before this post gets too long (maybe we’ve pasted that point) The songs are great, Lloyd’s pedal steel is great and if you only know Peter Cooper as a touring artist, a producer, college professor or award winning journalist or proud father, make sure you find out about Peter a outstanding songwriter with a great eye for the human condition. In the words of Kris Kristofferson:
“Peter Cooper looks at the world with an artist’s eye and a human heart and soul. His songs are the work of an original, creative imagination, alive with humor and heartbreak and irony and intelligence, with truth and beauty in the details”
I second that sentiment! Here’s Peter Cooper, Lloyd Green, Eric Brace and Mike Auldridge (Their new album is The Master Sessions but that’s for another time)