New compilation uncovers the secret history of Americana

Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music, a forthcoming (18th March) album from Numero Group, collects 19 tracks recorded between 1968 and 1980 that blend country, rock and soul.

The album’s subtitle was coined by Gram Parsons to describe the likes of The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, and is used here to gather rare music from artists barely known outside their home town and who pressed up their own records to sell at shows or local record stores.

Bands like Jimmy Carter and the Dallas Country Green and the Black Canyon Gang, were composed of farm and ranch hands who just liked making music. Others, such as Mistress Mary and Mike & Pam Martin, had dreams of record deals only to see them dashed when their demo albums were ignored.

Black Canyon Gang

Cosmic American Music marks the fifth compilation in the Numero Group’s Wayfaring Strangers series, following the critically praised titles Ladies From the Canyon, Guitar Soli, Lonesome Heroes and Darkscorch Canticles. Since starting in 2003, the Chicago-based archival record label received a 2009 Grammy nomination for their Light: On the South Side compilation, while Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology garnered two Grammy nominations: Best Album Notes and Best Historical Album.


1. Jimmy Carter and Dallas County Green: Travelin’
2. Mistress Mary: And I Didn’t Want You
3. Plain Jane: You Can’t Make It Alone
4. Dan Pavlides: Lily of the Valley
5. Angel Oak: I Saw Her Cry
6. Kathy Heideman: Sleep a Million Years
7. Deerfield: Me Lovin’ You
8. Arrogance: To See Her Smile
9. Jeff Cowell: Not Down This Low
10. Kenny Knight: Baby’s Back
11. The Black Canyon Gang: Lonesome City
12. Allan Wachs: Mountain Roads
13. Mike And Pam Martin: Lonely Entertainer
14. Bill Madison: Buffalo Skinners
15. White Cloud: All Cried Out
16. Ethel-Ann Powell: Gentle One
17. Sandy Harless: I Knew Her Well
18. F.J. McMahon: The Spirit of the Golden Juice
19. Doug Firebaugh: Alabama Railroad Town

About Douglas Baptie (208 Articles)
Editor at Words & Guitars. Lives in Carlisle, far away from 'that London'.
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