Bill Wilson Ever Changing Minstrel

In 1973, for every Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits there were hundreds of Bill Wilsons: young American singer-songwriters following the trail blazed by Bob Dylan a decade before. For a brief moment that year, Wilson's dream came true through a combination of talent and guts. A Vietnam vet who kicked around the Austin scene following his 1969 discharge, one day Wilson got up the nerve to go to Nashville and knock on the door of Bob Johnston, Dylan's producer. Johnston consented to hearing Wilson sing and that night assembled the legendary band that made Blonde On Blonde. They cut Ever Changing Minstrel in that single session, although shortly after its release on CBS subsidiary Windfall, Wilson became lost to the mists of record industry memory, ultimately succumbing to a heart attack in 1993. This first reissue of the album may not instigate a global Bill Wilson revival, but Ever Changing Minstrel is far from a curiosity. That unmistakable late '60s Dylan/Nashville sound is certainly evident, but Wilson's smooth, bluesy vocals have more in common with Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson, particularly on standout tracks "Ballad of Cody" and "Monday Morning Strangers." Fans of great Canadian troubadours Willie P. Bennett and David Wiffen will find a lot to appreciate on Ever Changing Minstrel as well. (Tompkins Square)