John Lilly | Last Chance to Dance

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United States - West Virginia

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Folk: Traditional Folk Country: Country Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Last Chance to Dance

by John Lilly

"If Hank Williams had a sunny disposition, he'd be John Lilly." Heart-stopping originals and early country music classics, the second release from this unique West Virginia artist.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Whodunit?
3:11 $0.99
2. Some Years Ago
3:39 $0.99
3. Last Chance to Dance
3:12 $0.99
4. Coal Miner's Grave
4:39 $0.99
5. No Hard Times
2:57 $0.99
6. Good News, Bad News
2:18 $0.99
7. Gasoline Alley
2:57 $0.99
8. Log Train
2:52 $0.99
9. Born Again
3:06 $0.99
10. Long Time Traveling
4:03 $0.99
11. Johnny Don't Get Drunk / Mississippi Sawyer
2:24 $0.99
12. A Little Yodel Goes a Long Way
2:47 $0.99
13. Hold On, Molly
2:43 $0.99
14. Blue Boy
3:01 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"A wonderful mix of old-time ballads, early country, and original songs that sound and feel as old as the early ones. The musicianship is as good as you'll hear anywhere - the lead and harmony vocals are among the best I have ever heard. The yodeling on "No Hard Times" would make Jimmie Rodgers proud. "Last Chance to Dance" reminded me of early rockabilly Sun Records recordings - it's great. Wonderful compilation of music. The guitar accompaniment on the ballads shows great feeling and only enhances the words. I could go on, but this is an exceptional recording of the old, not so old, and new.

--John Blisard

Jurying Evaluation/Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia (retail store)Beckley, West Virginia



to write a review

Edie Folta

Best-kept American roots musical secret?
"Last Chance to Dance" debuted at #1 in September 2003 on the Freeform American Roots chart (where the DJ's choose their favorite new roots releases) and it's easy to hear why. On it, John Lilly sets out to honor and contribute to the great tradition of American folk dance - and he does - but he can't help but veer back into the dark and lonesome territory that made 2000's "Broken Moon" such a stunning solo debut. On this album, however, he demonstrates the full range of his talent as instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, and interpreter of the American folk tradition, exploring not only his previous themes of love, heartbreak and redemption, but also traditional country themes of home, the loss of family, and growing older. It's a tribute to his talent that all this adds up to a diverse and, yes, upbeat collection of music.
His spare and clean instrumental performances on guitar, mandolin and bass, are outstanding, as before, with an even greater diversity of styles; so are the lead and harmony vocals. But while the earlier album gave only a tantalizing sample of what he can do as a songwriter, LCTD really shines as a songwriting showcase. Of special note are the opening track, "Whodunnit?" which gives the appearance of a throwaway novelty number, but which in fact is an intense musical and lyrical display of jealousy and suspicion, and "Blue Boy", which is in the great tradition of the country torch song, and deserves to become a standard.
Other favorite cuts are the two great yodeling songs, Jimmie Rodgers' "No Hard Times" and Lilly's own comic original "A Little Yodel Goes a Long Way" (recorded live), great examples of the American country yodeling tradition. (See also his performance of Hank Williams' "Pan American" on "Southern Ramble" by Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers.) The world-weary and fervid arrangement and performance of the traditional "Long Time Traveling" are also haunting and memorable, as is the Hazel Dickens' classic, "Coal Miner's Grave". The title song and "Good News, Bad News" are some other engaging cuts, but really, there are too many to name: listen and pick your own favorites!
Appearing again on this CD are the same group of collaborators who made "Broken Moon" so memorable: the great Ginny Hawker on harmony vocals, Buddy Griffin on fiddle (who ranges from the heartbreaking to the sardonic), with the addition of Sonny Landreth on slide guitar. David O'Dell returns, this time providing some great banjo as well as doing the recording and mixing.
This album should be of great interest not only to American roots music purists, who are looking for the next Gillian Welch or Iris DeMent, but also to those fans of contemporary country and folk songwriter/performers such as Robbie Fulks and Fred Eaglesmith. However, I am reminded as well of many older country and folk-based performers: not only the obvious influences of Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, but also the subsequent generation of writer/performers such as John Prine and Steve Goodman, who are both whimsical and profound. In addition, fans of Richard Thompson will admire both Lilly's instrumental virtuosity and the intensity and humor with which he plumbs old genres and makes them new. A must-have from a great writer and performer.


Great performance on great songs.
Great marriage between performer and material. One compliments the other. Very nice song selection. Very entertaining.