Music: The last several weeks I have played Paul Siebel’s music in my head. Who do you ask is Paul Siebel? Legitimate question as Paul only released two albums, Woodsmoke and Oranges, and Jack-Knife Gypsy.
I discovered Paul Siebel from an article in Rolling Stone Magazine and a friend of mine at that time also raved of his music. The article spoke of his background and glowed about his music. I borrowed the album Woodsmoke and Oranges and it was stunning. The second album of Paul’s was just coming out so I picked up a copy and thought this was as good as Dylan. Interesting enough I had trouble finding the Woodsmoke and Oranges album anywhere until years later. I have both of them on vinyl but they sit in my garage along with hundreds of my other albums. Have not played them in 20 years. That is another story.
Paul’s lyrics, vocals and style gave you a glimpse of Bob Dylan,and other folkies of the late 60’s and 70’s. His melodic voice gave me chills and so did the lyrics. They were often subtle, very introspective but with a hard punch coming out of clear blue. He could be country or cowboy and a combination of the two.
Many artists covered his work , Bonnie Raitt perhaps the best known. What I remember about Paul’s music was a time where music was something you wore on your sleeve . The music acts one followed was not just based on commercial airplay but a belief that it could change the world. Rock , folk or the folk rock bands and acts were trying to make a point.
Paul’s music did not fit in any one genre. Maybe that is why he could not reach a bigger audience. ” I got into Jimmie Rodger’s songs, which I thought fit very well into the folk idiom… I got to be known for country. No one in the folk scene was doing this, with the expectation of perhaps Jack Elliot doing cowboy songs, not quite country. The Jim Kweskin Jug Band maybe did a little. And of course there were the Holy Modal Rounders doing it tongue in cheek – if you did it tongue in cheek it was okay, you couldn’t do it proper . I think I wanted to find a voice and a venue in the city folk scene and I used country. One of the problems I had in the 70’s – country began becoming very popular and people approached me saying,” Why don’t you go to Nashville?” I was not a country singer, I did not want go to Nashville; they could do that stuff better than I could. ”
I looked for a video of his work on You Tube and other sites but could not find any. However, all his songs are available as singles. Take a listen and let me know your thoughts.
Paul drifted from the music scene and had issues with dependence. He worked in many jobs but never made a real comeback. I only wished others would have realized what an outstanding talent he was. Things might have been different.