Two of singer-songwriter Terry Allen’s Eighties-era releases will be reissued by the indie label Paradise of Bachelors this May: 1980’s Smokin’ the Dummy and 1983’s Bloodlines. Both albums have both been long out of print, having last been reissued as a joint single album in 1997 by Sugar Hill Records, and are currently unavailable on streaming services.
The cult West Texas country singer and mixed-media artist has been enjoying a re-emergence in the past several years as his back catalog has been slowly reissued by Paradise of Bachelors, exposing the singer-songwriter to younger audiences and artists like Kurt Vile. In 2020, the singer released Just Like Moby Dick, his first album of original material in nearly two decades.
The first tastes of these two albums are “The Heart of California (for Lowell George),” a hard-charging road tale in the vein of Allen’s signature “Amarillo Highway,” and “Gimme a Ride to Heaven,” his absurdist tale of a hitchhiking Jesus. Allen recently performed a thrilling version of the latter song with his Pandhandle Mystery Band during his Austin City Limits special earlier this year.
Smokin’ The Dummy was co-produced by Lloyd Maines, whose daughter Natalie Maines makes an early, pre-Chicks cameo as a vocalist on Allen’s follow-up LP, Bloodlines.
“I wanted to do a real live album,” Allen said of Smokin’ the Dummy in a 1998 interview. “That’s basically what we did…With Bloodlines, I had been doing the music for different theatre pieces at the time…It wasn’t nearly [as] much a band record.”
Both albums will be re-released on May 6th.