Kris Kristofferson - Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends
With seven years and 49 releases under their belt Light In The Attic Records decided to celebrate the big "five zero" in style. As the champagne corks popped in their HQ they set a target of putting out the never before released production demos of Americana rock royalty Kris Kristofferson.
Whilst the younger reader may be more aware his exploits on the silver screen Kriss's career began in the music industry. When he left the Army in 1965 he held down a number of jobs, one of which was as a janitor at Columbia Records in Nashville. As a fledgling songwriter he offered some of his material to Johnny Cash, although Cash politely accepted the young Kristofferson's offer it wouldn't be until later in the man in black's career that he would cover his work. Also during his time sweeping the floors Bob Dylan recorded Blonde On Blonde as Kris emptied the bins - although later Dylan would not only sing Kristofferson’s work but star alongside him in films - at that point (for fear of losing his job) Kris never made an approach.
The recordings collected here from 1968 to 1972 are demos of the songs that Kris would hope to sell on to other artists. Whilst he would be very successful, with over 500 artists (including Cash, Dylan and Janis Joplin) covering his songs it's the raw, heartfelt and fragile delivery here from an early point in his career that makes this collection essential.
His vocal notes to would-be performers, such as "Don't sing on the second verse" only add further to the charm of this package. It inspires the same uncontrollable glee as finding a shoebox in full of unreleased recordings by your favourite artist in a charity shop. But this is no curiosity, not something of interest to collectors or completists only - these are staggeringly beautiful performances that in many cases manage to eclipse what (up until now) had been the original versions.
In reviewing these with the benefit of hindsight quite how any artist being played these songs as suggestions by their label could come away with any thought other than "how do I top that?" Is unthinkable. Such is the power and emotion in every fibre of this material.
To complement the package there is a 60 page full-colour booklet with interviews, lyrics and photos. These supplements further add to the quality of such a monumental release. If you've had a casual interest in his work in the past this serves as a perfect entry point to his career, if you are a lifelong fan this is something you will not want to miss and have probably had the release day circled in your diary for quite some time.