Saturday, 13 July 2019

David Ackles - My Name is David: Best of 1968-1973

Continuing on with artists who've never had a proper anthology released, we come to one of my favourite singer/songwriters, David Ackles. There was a proposed compilation, titled There Is a River: The Elektra Recordings, slated for release way back in 2007 but for various reasons it never saw the light of day. Comprising of the 3 albums he recorded for Elektra and a few unreleased songs, some copies were leaked before it was pulled, but as yet I've had no luck finding any. In his lifetime he only managed to release 4 albums, all of which I'd say are quite magnificent. His most celebrated is probably American Gothic, but my favourite is his debut self titled album. Whilst never getting any commercial success, many of his songs have been recorded by other artists over the years, most famously "The Road to Cairo" by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity.

My initial interest in Ackles began way back in 1977, when, aged 13 years old, I received for Christmas a hardback book called The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock. For many years this was my bible, devouring every page and reading about every artist listed within, a good deal of which I'd never heard of before. The opening section, with artists listed alphabetically, featured a small picture of Ackles and just the one paragraph detailing his recording career. But within that paragraph were the words which quite accurately described his style as "poignant, nostalgic material laced with heavy drama". It wasn't until several years later I finally did hear anything by Ackles, once again my pal Manerg was responsible for my introduction, playing me his first album. After that I was of course hooked and purchased all 4 of his albums.
Speaking of Manerg, yet another shoutout for a couple of song suggestions and helping me with the cover art.
I have wondered how Ackles' career would had developed if he'd received the success he was denied, I'm sure there would have been plenty more excellent albums to follow. But, disillusioned by his lack of commercial success he never recorded again, and moved on to work in musical theatre and writing screenplays, eventually teaching musical theatre. Sadly he died in 1999 at the age of 62, of lung cancer.

 1. Ballad of the Ship of State (4:18)
 2. Down River (3:55)
 3. Cabin on the Mountain (3:29)
 4. I've Been Loved (5:07)
 5. Laissez-Faire (1:35)
 6. Midnight Carousel (3:41)
 7. Everybody Has a Story (2:05)
 8. Candy Man (4:14)
 9. Blue Ribbons (4:34)
10. Oh, California! (2:38)
11. Surf's Down (2:33)
12. Woman River (4:47)
13. What a Happy Day (2:11)
14. Montana Song (10:04)
15. Inmates of the Institution (4:26)
16. House Above the Strand (2:35)
17. His Name is Andrew (6:08)
18. Waiting for the Moving Van (3:35)
19. Jenna Saves (2:31)
20. The Road to Cairo (5:15)

Tracks 2, 5, 9, 13, 17 & 20 from the album "David Ackles", 1968
Tracks 3, 8, 12 & 15 from the album "Subway to the Country", 1970
Tracks 1, 6, 10, 14 & 18 from the album "American Gothic", 1972
Tracks 4, 7, 11, 16 & 19 from the album "Five & Dime", 1973

   Download FLAC
   Download mp3