Dave Cousins and Brian Willoughby - Live at the Exmouth Summer Festival (1978)

After the split of Str... (actually, Dave Cousins quitted to take a job in a sort of radio management so that Heartbreak Hill was not released), Dave Cousins went back to his roots playing lo-fi acoustic folk sets with Brian Willoughby. Much more folk in fact that in his debuts since his friend had a very folk way to play his guitar and to my opinion, not the best sideman he had (Dave Lambert is much more appropriate). This live recording (unfortunately only a part of what was played during their appearance at this festival) was released on a very marginal LP called Old School Songs, associated with 6 songs recorded in studio. A strange mix that was not satisfying, wrapped in an awful sleeve. So here, I extracted the live part and put a more appropriate enveloppe. The set is worth for a rare "Beside the Rio Grande" live version (I put it in streaming and encourage you to read the lyrics, very strong indeed, and the favorites of Dave Cousins himself). And all in all, this selection is quite homogenous. Enjoy it here.

It happened rather suddenly that the Preacher came to town With stories from the Testaments of men of great reknown With his box of patent medicines he swore to cure all ills From the lameness in the horses, to the children's colds and chills And he had along his Indian wife and a country music band Who sang of peace and brotherhood beside the Rio Grande. Now the Preacher quickly gathered sick and poor from miles around Who came to him for comfort and to hear his country sound But the mayor thought he was trouble when he spoke against the law And he saw the growing power of the crowds that he could draw And he worried when the Preacher bought himself a plot of land To settle with his family beside the Rio Grande. The saloon was pretty crowded and the stakes was a-running high And the girls sang sentimental songs that made us cowboys cry We began to criticise the Preacher marrying a squaw And how could he associate with cripples, drunks and whores And in a crazy fit the Preacher scattered chips and winning hands And condemned it as a den of vice beside the Rio Grande. Now the boys were drunk and rowdy, and mostly pretty mean And we dragged him to the sidewalk and whipped his shoulders clean We said he was responsible for bringing on the drought That had burned off all the spring grass and had wiped the young herd out The sheriff would not get involved, the law could take no hand The Preacher had not harmed a soul. We pegged him on the hillside alongside two Apache braves Who'd been given picks and shovels and been made to dig their graves And when he asked for water stood and pissed around his feet While his tongue swelled up and blackened in the burning desert heat And someone said we ought to mark the Preacher with a brand To show that he did not belong beside the Rio Grande. Then the sky began to darken and a breeze whipped up the dust And some of us were frightened while others swore and cursed And the Preacher said a few words with his final dying breath About forgiving us for what we had done to bring about his death And as the night began to fall we covered him with sand And left his weary bones to bleach

Dave Cousins in 1979 after a show, pictured by a fan.

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