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Canadian country rock band, Cowboy Junkies were formed in 1985 in Toronto by brothers and sister Michael (songwriter, guitar), Peter (drums) and Margo Timmins (vocals) and friend Alan Anton (bass).
Their debut album in 1986, Whites Off Earth Now! was a blues inspired effort but it was their second album 'The Trinity Session' released in 1988 and recorded around a single microphone in a church, which went to be become their biggest seller and secure them a record deal. Since then, they've developed a dedicated following around the world and have to date released twelve studio albums plus several more in the form of live and compilation releases.
Their style is a laid-back melting pot of blues, country, rock and folk centred around the song writing talents of Michael and the velvety soft voice of Margo. The Caution Horses was their third album, released in 1990 on the RCA label.
For me, this is the album that represents the very best of Cowboy Junkies, it's the album that got me hooked (yes, I'm a 'Junkie') and is still the album I choose when I want something to relax with. Its melancholy lyrics, Margo's haunting voice and the distinct country-folk tinged music have the power to take you to another plane.
The album is fairly harmonica and steel guitar driven, but don't let that put you off, combined with the unhurried melodies of the band and a smattering of accordion, it really is something special. It's an album of sad songs, melancholy songs, songs of despair and new beginnings. But performed in such a tender and beautiful way that it doesn't leave you feeling down.
I love the album as a whole, but for me the highlight track is 'Witches' - a woman torn between staying with her lover or escaping to the hills and to the witches calling her name. Margo's voice, like melted chocolate, has never been better as she almost whispers the words with just a simple guitar backing. A short song, under three minutes, which never fails to send shivers down my spine.
Cowboy Junkies have never been about hits, they veer too far from the mainstream to have had much chart success, but there were a couple of successful Canadian singles released from this album in the shape of 'Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning' and 'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel' (with it's wonderful opening line "It's the kind of night that's so cold, when you spit it freezes before it hits the ground") Both of these tracks are still firm favourites with fans and are often included in live sets.
Almost all the tracks on The Caution Horses are original, with just two exceptions: Neil Young's brilliant 'Powderfinger' and Mary Margaret O'Hara's 'You Will Be Loved Again' - a simple arrangement performed exquisitely.
Many cite 'The Trinity Session', the album prior to this one, as the seminal CJ album, and although a great recording it has the feel of a band still finding their feet. With 'The Caution Horses', they had found their groove - and it was a groove to sway to. I've recommended this album to so many people over the years, most of whom have never heard of Cowboy Junkies before. All of them have agreed that The Caution Horses is a great addition to any record collection.
Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning
'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel
Rock And Bird
Where Are You Tonight?
Escape Is So Simple
You Will Be Loved Again
Album produced by: Peter Moore and Michael Timmins
Jeff Bird (mandolin, harmonica, fiddle)
Jaro Czerwinec (accordian)
Kim Deschamps (pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar)
David Houghton (percussion)
For more info: www.cowboyjunkies.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sun Comes Up It's Tuesday Morning
2 Cause Cheap Is How I Feel
3 Thirty Summers
4 Mariner's Song
6 Where Are You Tonight
8 Rock And Bird
9 Escape Is So Easy
10 You Will Be Loved Again