The rollicking, rocking third of the triumvirate who came to us from Texas known as the Flatlanders, Joe Ely has a driving rhythm and a plaintive wail to his voice that is unmistakably his.
While Jimmie Dale Gilmore became the soul, and Butch Hancock the words, Joe Ely is certainly the heart.
Joe certainly had the largest commercial success of the three, and he did it by being an ambassador to the world of the Texas rocker/songwriter. The Liner notes of his Live Shots album (first released in England, then finally back to us) a Britisher writer makes no apology for the Brits having discovered Joe first. Then he points out the irony that we understood The Clash before them with London Calling!
The only way to get Joe is with hearing him. Here goes!
"Me and Billy the Kid":
Please understand me...everything's alright...I justa "Musta Notta Gotta Lotta"...:
If you want romance...would you "Settle for Love"?:
Taking Butch Hancock's words and making them his own, "If You Were a Bluebird":