Lavender Country
Lavender Country


5.0
classic

Review

by Cyan isn't a shade of blue. USER (40 Reviews)
June 24th, 2022 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Too far ahead of its time to gain popularity upon release, Lavender Country is an evocative political statement about the lives of gay people in the 1970s.

Song titles such as “Cryin' These Cocksucking Tears” may lead some to assume Lavender Country are a comedy band with gay men as one of their punchlines, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Frontman Patrick Haggerty grew up gay on a farm in Washington with a surprisingly accepting family -as detailed in his ‘Don’t Sneak’ Story Corps video about growing up in 1950s. His work as an LGBT rights activist and his socialist viewpoints eventually lead him to create what is often referred to as the world’s first gay country album. While a socialist, queer-themed record in such a macho genre could come off as a disingenuous gimmick, powerful lyrics and varied thoughful instrumentation give Lavender Country its legitimacy. Haggerty clearly loves this genre of music and believes what he preaches.

The lyrics are so ahead of their time that gay men from the 70s were likely to have even received it poorly, favoring sexually ambiguous glam rock, burgeoning disco, or colorful show tunes. These styles of music are certainly more fun and offer escapism, but “Lavender Country” is about reality. Some songs are topically innocuous, such as the opener “Come Out Singing” -about simply not wanting to get out of bed because you’re too happy cuddling with the man lying next to you. The song’s cute quip “milk and honey flowing when you're blowing Gabriel's horn” shows that not only is Haggerty playful in his lyricism, but that he’s also unafraid to mention gay sex unshrouded. Other songs criticize self-hating closet cases, toxic masculinity, mental facility imprisonment, and homophobic murder. The line “if they hear any gay talk, a sizzle of electro-shock, keeps his fantasies in fascist shape. They call it mental hygiene, but I call it psychic rape!” from “Waltzing Will Trilogy” is particularly scathing. Solutions such as tearing down physical institutions, like prison, and social institutions, like masculinity, are offered throughout the album. Each track, whether joyful, forlorn, or indignant, genuinely reflects Haggerty’s, or in the case of “To a Woman,” fiddler Eve Morris’s, lived experiences as sexual minorities.

Instrumentally, the album sounds quite old school, even for the 70s. Haggerty’s vocals are traditionally nasal and twangy, but also uniquely soft and feminine. Morris, whose vocals are usually on backup, is a deeper-voiced Joan Baez. The songs are draped in melodic piano, old-fashioned fiddle, and leading acoustic guitar. While the band’s setup is rather simple, each song captures its own distinct world, with even a handful of tracks (“Georgie Pie”, “To a Woman”) reading closer to folk than country. Not many gay-themed tracks from this era could be so aptly described as rustic and languorous -“Lavender Country” holds a unique and necessary niche.

There are no weak links throughout the under 38-minute runtime, with each song an essential piece. If you truly hate all country music or have no interest in honest, fearless songs about LGBT people, this may not be the record for you. To everyone else: “come out my dears to Lavender County, sashay out and give [this album] a try.”

Album highlights: “Come Out Singing”, “Waltzing Will Trilogy”, “Back in the Closet Again”, “Lavender Country”



Recent reviews by this author
Water From Your Eyes Everyone's CrushedDonovan Mellow Yellow
Pram HeliumGoat Oh Death
Mild High Club SkiptracingHiatus Kaiyote Mood Valiant
user ratings (14)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ArsMoriendi
June 24th 2022


41294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks to Johnny and Kompys for proofreading and thanks to theBoneyKing for helping me choose 3/4 of the recommended albums



Everyone needs to check this tbh



I 5'd it upon first listen, and after a 10th listen it's still a strong 5

theBoneyKing
June 24th 2022


24564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice job Ars! Thanks for giving me the bump to finally check this one out. You did a good job covering it as well, short and sweet.

Kompys2000
Emeritus
June 24th 2022


9489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

WELL YOUR SEXISM IS A BROKEN RECORD, RECORD RECORD

IT'S BEEN SCREECHIN' FOR TEN THOUSAND YEARS



based rev we celebrating pride in style

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


61276 Comments


YES AWESOME

i will listen to this, great work !!!

theBoneyKing
June 24th 2022


24564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes Johnny this is a worthy contribution for country to your genre list.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2022


27813 Comments


Excellent review

ArsMoriendi
June 24th 2022


41294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So who here is a big country fan that doesn't have this rated?

WatchItExplode
June 24th 2022


10476 Comments


I love learning things in music reviews. I will definitely check this out.

Ryus
June 25th 2022


37484 Comments


i think i heard this once and it was good

ArsMoriendi
June 25th 2022


41294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

So what's everyone's favorite song on this?



For me it's probably the opener

Kompys2000
Emeritus
June 25th 2022


9489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To a Woman is comfortably ahead of the rest for me, eve isn't quite the lyricist pat is but she has a great voice and the production really makes it pop (though the whole album sounds fantastic especially for a 70s indie release, kudos to whoever manned the boards here)

theBoneyKing
June 25th 2022


24564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like “Waltzing Will Trilogy,” “Back in the Closet Again,” and “Straight White Patterns” the most I think, I find those the most lyrically interesting and compelling.

ArsMoriendi
June 25th 2022


41294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

All great songs



tbh I'd find this album sso difficult to rank since it's like wall to wall good stuff



Maybe Gypsy John is my least favorite? MAYBE? still like a 4.5/5 song

bgillesp
June 26th 2022


8868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hmm, I’ll check some time probably

theBoneyKing
June 29th 2022


24564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Woke up with “Georgie Pie” playing in my head, what a haunting tune.

ArsMoriendi
July 1st 2022


41294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I listen to this album almost every day now lol it’s so good

bgillesp
November 2nd 2022


8868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Took me 4 months but jamming this now

theBoneyKing
November 2nd 2022


24564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

RIP Patrick Haggerty 😢

ArsMoriendi
November 2nd 2022


41294 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I know : (

bgillesp
November 2nd 2022


8868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, real sad : (

This was really good. Easy to mistake some parts as humorous if I wasn’t paying close attention to lyrics, but then you catch those dark or sad lines and it hits you



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy