Over the last week or so I have been having a bit of a blitz converting various bits of vinyl I've acquired recently into mp3 format. One of them is the 1978 self-titled LP by Elizabeth Barraclough, which I acquired for £1 in the Oxfam shop in Crouch End a couple of months ago.
I had never previously heard of Elizabeth, and bought the album mainly on the basis of the supporting cast. It was released on Bearsville Records so naturally involves Todd Rundgren, but others include The Band's producer John Simon, harmonica legend Paul Butterfield and crack Nashville session players like Charlie McCoy and Kenny Buttrey. It was produced by Albert Grossman, Dylan's former manager and owner of Bearsville, with sleeve notes by Jim Rooney, who went on to produce Nanci Griffith and others. It also has one of the most unflattering photos imaginable on the front cover - it makes her look like a grumpy trucker.
I have not been able to find out much about Elizabeth on the Internet. It appears she was hanging around in Woodstock at the time, which might explain where she met some of these characters, and was dating Paul Butterfield. She went on to record a second album on Bearsville that was produced by Willie Mitchell in Memphis, which sounds worth tracking down. I assume she is English on the basis of her voice, her very English surname and because there is a track on the album called "Shepherd's Bush" (for our international readers, that is a district of London) - but I may be wrong. If anyone knows more, please let me know.
It is hardly an essential album but it is not bad - a nice mix of blues, country, a little bit of soul and some typical 1970s singer-songwriter stuff. For me, the two stand out tracks are "Covered Up In Aces" and "Like The Desert Needs The Sand". Apologies for the slightly ropey sound quality.
Slightly to my surprise I managed to find a clip on YouTube of her performing "Covered Up In Aces". Even more to my surprise, she looks nothing at all like a grumpy trucker. Here she is: