A genius songwriter, Paul Siebel. He made 2 fantastic studio albums, and one live album, that's all... This is not an official homepage of songwriter Paul Siebel does not supply free download or mp3 or free cd or whatever. Anyone interested in Siebels music and songs is invited to contact me. Paul Seibel Siebel Paul P Siebel Woodsmoke Orange Woodstock
Paul Siebel Live

the best worst album I ever found

Paul Siebel is a legendary folk-country singer songwriter.
Normally, to obtain the status of a legend in music, it suffices to record some great songs over 1-2 years and then die tragically. Like Robert Johnson, Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Kurt Corbain et al, they played it smart.
But Paul Siebel did better: after having made 2 fabulous albums, he just stopped. And sort of disappeared. But still lives.

There hasnít been written a lot about the man Paul Siebel.
There are some reviews on his two Elektra albums, 1970 Woodsmoke and Oranges and 1971 Jack-Knife Gypsy. Fantastic albums, with a few classic originals, gratefully covered by Bonnie Raitt, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kate Wolf, Mary McCaslin, Linda Ronstadt, etc.
Siebel just made those 2 albums, 21 songs in all. After 1971 not much news about Siebel emerged.
A last 22nd song, "Spanish Johnny", was recorded by David Bromberg, Siebelís version was never released. Most people will be familiar with Emmylou Harris' cover of the song.
Now and then Siebel's name came up: in interviews with other artists. Some rumors were heard, he played in McCabes in 1978, what was considered a come-back, and was on a 1977 LP (1992 on cd) Music From Mud Acres - though mainly on the liner notes.
He did not write any other new song.
In 1996 Folk Magazine Dirty Linen traced him down and talked with the then 58 years old bread-baker (Issue #64, June/July 1996, worth reading!).

I wonít go into his 2 studio albums.
These are easy to get on eBay or elsewhere second hand, and they have been released on cd. These songs all are fantastic, I think. Though, if you are allergic to the crow-like voices of other Jewish singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan or Kinky Friedman, you better skip Siebel.

Here I just focus on Siebelís obscure third and last album.
I recently saw it in a shop and immediately bought it. It turned out to be the best worst album I ever found. Don't get me wrong: I love it.
Siebelís limited vocal capacities painfully show on this live recording. He sings no new songs. Half of the songs are from his 2 studio albums, the other half covers of country evergreens.
Accompanied by old pal David Bromberg and Gary White on guitar, they seem to make the best of it in the given situation.
Iím so glad I didnít hesitate a moment, I did not consider to listen to it first. I would have been tempted not to buy it. So glad I bought the record instantly.

It was released on an obscure label. Information to the songs on the album is inaccurate.
Doubt if it ever paid Siebel any dues (probably wouldnít do much good, considering the sales...).

[Update November 2008] When I wrote these 2 lines above, I did not know anything more about the label Rag Baby Records. I supposed it was a German label (my LP was printed in Germany). But I was wrong.
I found out what was really behind Rag Baby Records, when I got an e-mail from Bill Belmont. Rag Baby is the label of Country Joe McDonald, and yes, it had paid Siebel. This is what Bill wrote:

Joe and I restarted Rag Baby in 1981. The then owners of Takoma--remember there was connection between Country Joe and The Fish and Takoma--it lived --the label in the Fish office kitchen-- well Denny Bruce had started a collection of "Live at McCabes" recordings. Only a couple ever came out, the best known one is the Norman Blake. The [John] Fahey recordings been lost....
Well Takoma didn't like the [Siebel] recording and I bought from them. I did track Paul down at the time, but he wasn't very interested in much of anything to do with recording. We ran the track listing by him but he never responded.

I am in the process on putting all of the 2 sets --picking the best of the various duplicate versions. So all in all it's a 20 song collection.

Yes we did pay Paul--not much but we did send him royalties

Thank you Bill Belmont for the Rag Baby information!

NEWS: Paul Siebel 2003

September 2008, on Spectropop, Steve Harley notes: "Siebel drives a truck now and while passing through town will occasionally call Philly Pholk DJ Gene Shay."

Willy DeVille cut a cover of Louise, on his 2008 cd release Pistola

Recent release: cd with all 21 Paul Siebel's Elektra tracks, PLUS an unreleased new one, "Nervous" !
See Amazon
The excellent liner notes tell the sad story of Paul's career more seriously and truthfully than I did.

Even the live album now seems to be re-released on cd. It is a Rag Baby Records release, a small label with mainly Country Joe McDonald music. But read my review of the songs below before you're gonna order...

Paul recently played (pic left) at the Forum Coffeehouse Reunion Concert. Too few people were there, under a bridge next to the busy traffic, hearing Paul play. Wish I had known, I would have come straight away...

The album: Paul Siebel: Live, with David Bromberg & Gary White

Paul Siebel Live

Track Listing:

Side One

1. Lonesome House 4:15 (Jefferson/ Siebel)
A traditional blues, "Lonesome House Blues", recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927. Got no idea why Siebel is listed as a co-composer...

2. Women Make A Fool Out Of Me 3:05 (Jimmy Rodgers)
On album #1, Siebel did a nice, original, hilarious yodel in the song She Made Me Lose My Blues. Now this old Jimmie Rodgersí song allows Siebel to venture another yodel, more unrestrained than his studio recorded yodel.

3. Iím In The Jailhouse Now 2:17 (Jimmy Rodgers)
Another song credited to Jimmy (sic) Rodgers. In fact it is an old traditional blues song, Jimmie Rodgers did not write it. But his recording was the big seller in the 1920s, and his copyright was claimed. Older versions than Rodgersí recording exist: by Buford 'Whistler' Threlkeld & His Jug Band, Earl McDonald, Blind Blake & Gus Cannon, they all recorded before Jimmie Rodgers.

4. If I Could Stay 3:38 (Paul Siebel)
A beautiful, poetic song. And a song, too difficult for Siebel to sing. It already showed on Album#2: even in the studio, it was aiming too high to record a decent vocal part of the song. Now this live performance is a complete disaster. Or is he just imitating Mrs Miller...?

5. You Are My Sunshine 2:20 (J. Davis/ C. Mitchell)
I got bad shivers all over when I hear Siebel sing this classic song, originally written by Paul Rice (Jimmie Davis bought off the composers rights, what turned out to be a very lucrative deal!). At the end, Siebel concludes the song with a "Thank you.., if Willie Nelson can do it, I can do it !".

Side Two

1. Iím So Lonesome I Could Cry 2:45 (Hank Williams)
Sung in a slow, howling way. I imagine that, while singing this song, the picture used on the LP cover was taken.

2. Pinto Pony 2:35 (Paul Siebel)
A great song from Album 2. Nice guitars on this live version could have made this one of the better tracks, but unfortunalely Siebel gets carried away after the guitar break while singing the last verse.

3. Itís A Long Way To Nashville 3:00 (Paul Siebel)
On his first album the song was just titled "Nashville Again". Beautiful lyrics, great song. The live version has nice Spanish guitarissimo and Siebelís voice comes off pretty well.

4. Louise 3:40 (Paul Siebel)
Paul Siebelís signature song. Lots of good covers of this little song: Leo Kottke, Linda Ronstadt, Ian Matthews & Plainsong, Bonnie Raitt.

5. Honest Sam 3:50 (Paul Siebel)
On album #1 this song officially was entitled "The Ballad of Honest Sam". Another fantastic story, sung to an nice honky tonk melody.

Recorded at McCabes in Los Angeles on June 9, 1978

David Bromberg appears courtesy of Fantasy Records
(p) 1980 Rag Baby Records

Manufactured and Marketed by INTERCORD Ton GmbH, Licensee
Printed in Western Germany

Rag Baby Records INT 147.403 Stereo/ Mono


Lyrics of a few Siebel's songs of LP-2:
Jack-Knife Gypsy
If I Could Stay
Jasper and the Miners
Chips Are Down
Hillbilly Child
Legend of the Captain's Daughter
Miss Jones
Pinto Pony
Uncle Dudley

(c) K van der Hoeven, Eindhoven NL, (c) 2008

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