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An American Trilogy (Box Set)

This Texas native (1940-2002) was a one-man song factory in the late Sixties, writing hits for Nashville royalty. But Newbury’s hurt and searching, draped in chamber-country silk, bloomed best on the solo LPs in this box: Looks Like Rain (1969), ‘Frisco Mabel Joy (1971) and Heaven Help the Child (1973). His grainy vocal tenderness in “San Francisco Mabel Joy” evokes the combined haunting of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake, while “An American Trilogy” – turned into flag-waving Wagner by Elvis Presley – is, in Newbury’s grip, patriotic anguish for a country at war with itself.

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