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Harry Dean Stanton Live in ’93

New Live 1993 Release

By Rob Dickens

On paper it looks easier to move from singer/musician to actor rather than the other way around.

Some examples where the former career transition has paid off in spades:

Cher, Madonna, Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ice Cube, Lady Gaga, James Taylor, Art Garfunkel, Elvis Presley, Mandy Moore, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Harry Belafonte, Kris Kristofferson, Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Doris Day, Olivia Newton John, David Bowie, Eminem, Bjork, Queen Latifah, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Hudson, Prince, The Beatles, Judy Garland, Tom Waits

Going the other way – a successful actor trying his/her hand out in the music biz, less so. My social media buddies (u no hoo u r) have been invaluable in work-shopping a list of these – some standouts – Paul Robeson, Steve Martin, Jeff Bridges, Jaime Foxx. From there the list gets a little thinner if the measure is sustained triumph – Michael Sera, William Shatner, Scarlett Johansson, Keanu Reeves, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Depp, Steven Seagal, Hugh Lawrie, Russell Crowe, Jared Leto, Bruce Willis, Zoey Deschanel, Keifer Sutherland, Jeff Daniels, Kevin Costner, Billy Bob Thornton, Kevin Bacon, David McCallum, Jim Nabors. There are many others of course but, dang, I can’t think of anyone particularly compelling to refute my hypothesis.

Why this, you ask?

Well cult, beloved actor Harry Dean Stanton, with an over six-decade long career (he passed away September 2017) managed the transition while maintaining the STATUS OF RENEGADE COOL.

One of his iconic roles. The opening scenes of Paris, Texas (the 1984 film directed by Wim Wenders) where Stanton wanders, seemingly endlessly, to the quiet thunder of Ry Cooder’s slide guitar. Unforgettable.

A beautiful singer, Stanton always carried himself with the right sensibility for a rock ‘n’ roll band and left a significant legacy musically. His trusted musical partner for over fifteen years was Jamie James, as evidenced in the acclaimed documentary and soundtrack Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.

A treat for these ears is an imminent collaboration – Harry Dean Stanton With The Cheap Dates’ October 1993 – has Stanton with members of The Kingbees, Stray Cats, The Doobie Brothers and Tin Machine. The album will be released February 12, 2021 via Omnivore Records.

From James’s liner notes: “Together, Harry and I had been doing some dates around Los Angeles as a duo and I remember suggesting to Harry to have Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats) come over and play drums with us. In doing so, he brought along Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter (The Doobie Brothers) to play pedal steel, which then led to Slim and I asking Tony Sales (Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren) to play bass, and that’s how we became The Cheap Dates.”

October, 1993 documents that collaboration with four studio tracks and five cut live at Doug Weston’s Troubadour in Los Angeles. The album features strong, meaty covers of Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Ben E. King, Jimmy Reed and more. You can feel the vibe in the room. The closing “Cancion Mixteca” will sweep you off your feet! 

Go back in time, see how an actor can turn to music with grace and aplomb and mesh brilliantly with a top-notch outfit. October 1993 is a glorious celebration.

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October 1993 Track List

  1. I’LL BE YOUR BABY TONIGHT
  2. PROMISED LAND
  3. YOU DON’T MISS YOUR WATER
  4. ACROSS THE BORDERLINE
  5. YOU NEVER CAN TELL (Live at the Troubadour)
  6. SPANISH HARLEM (Live at the Troubadour)
  7. MISS FROGGIE (Live at the Troubadour)
  8. BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY (Live at the Troubadour)
  9. CANCIÓN MIXTECA (Live at the Troubadour)

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New Live 1993 Release

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Author: Rob Dickens

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