A Little Farther West — “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence”
Americana Highways brings you this premiere of A Little Farther West’s version of the song “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” from their upcoming album Vaya Con Dios, due to be out June 10 via Town & Country/ Virtual Label. This song was written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the John Ford-directed 1962 film starring James Stewart and John Wayne. But the original song didn’t appear in the film; it ended up being released after the film was out.
A Little Farther West is Robert Maxwell Case on vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, and drums; and Susie Case on organ. Their version of this song is a blend of old time country & Western styles, with modern influences of spoken word style storytelling songwriting. At the organ, Susie does double duty of adding touches of darkness and a lighter “Western saloon” dustiness to the mood. And Robert tells the tale, singing with deep vocal tones and higher ones both in earnest and with a slight bit of whimsy.
Director John Ford’s 1962 film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, starring James Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and Vera Miles is widely regarded as one of the best western motion pictures of all time. The studio, Paramount, allegedly contracted with lyricist Hal David and composer Bert Bacharach to write the theme song and Bacharach and David produced the record with vocalist Gene Pitney. According to Pitney, during the recording session one of the session players informed him that the movie had already been released, of course without the inclusion of the song. Pitney’s recording of the song was released on Musicor Records anyway and peaked at No. 4 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. So independently both the movie and the song were highly successful. The late Hal David is my favorite lyricist of all time and, in the song, he effectively synopsized the motion picture (in the manner of South Of The Border and High Noon) which was no easy task. My thought as to why the song was omitted from the movie is that Ford didn’t want that much of the plot given away. In our version on our new album we replaced the opening fiddle part with our signature twangy guitar, but one of the best stories ever in western media remains. – Robert Maxwell Case
Purchase the music here: https://alittlefartherwest.lnk.to/vayacondios