[17 February 2011]
When Blaze Foley was shot to death in 1989 at the age of 39, little if any of his music was in print. He and his songs left enough of an impression that John Prine covered “Clay Pigeons” and Merle Haggard recorded “If I Could Only Fly”. He also inspired songs like Lucinda Williams’ “Drunken Angel”, Townes Van Zandt’s “Blaze’s Blues”, and Gurf Morlix’s “Music You Mighta Made”. On Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream, Morlix further honors his friend with a full album of Foley songs. Released at the same time as the documentary Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah, Dream is a bit of a revelation as the light sandpaper rasp of Morlix’s voice adds to the worldweariness and charm of Foley’s lyrics. Whether it’s the lowkey defiance of “Big Cheeseburgers and Good French Fries”, the spry but sad “Baby Can I Crawl Back to You”, or the openheartedness of “Clay Pigeons” (a song that Prine said sounded like he was already singing it when he heard Foley’s version), Dream pays fine tribute to Foley while at the same time highlighting his stylistic link to later songwriters like Todd Snider. It looks like several of Foley’s discs are currently in print, and it’s likely that Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream will send lucky listeners in search of them.