Emmylou Harris Last Date

For some inexplicable reason, this pair of early '80s Emmylou LPs have been out of print. The core of the band is similar for each release, with folks like James Burton and Ricky Skaggs helping out on Cimarron. "Born To Run" is not the Boss-y anthem, and while it may not be full of tramps, it is still a fine song. "The Price You Pay," on the other hand, is one of the best Springsteen covers around - it's an unexpected treat, one of Bruce's best, yet least known songs. Emmylou can work her magic to make even a hoary old chestnut like "The Tennessee Waltz" sound fresh, while Don Williams duets on Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You." As good as Cimarron is, the following year's Last Date is even better. It's all covers and was recorded in California bars in 1982. She kicks off with a smoking version of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin" On" and then tackles songs from the Everly Brothers, Carl Perkins, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, putting her stamp on every one of them. Not surprisingly, there are also three Gram Parsons songs, along with a fourth he covered with her help on one of his solo LPs. More unexpected are a straight country ballad reading of Springsteen's "Racing In The Street" and a wistful, bittersweet take on Neil Young's "Long May You Run." Both discs are rounded out with bonus tracks, all previously non-LP B-sides; Cimarron gets one and Last Date, a pair. Finally, a gaping hole in one of country music's singular and most refreshing catalogues has been filled. (Eminent)