‘Monday Morning Rolls Around . . .’

I have no idea how Bill Wilson’s 1973 album, Ever Changing Minstrel, found its way onto the digital shelves here. Somewhere in my wanderings through blogworld, I came across it and thought it sounded interesting. Certainly, the tale of its origins, as told a few years ago by Rob Nichols at Indianapolis-based NUVO, is intriguing:

One night in February of 1973, Indiana folk rock legend Bill Wilson was a 25 year-old musician looking for a break. So he drove to Nashville and knocked on the kitchen door of producer Bob Johnston, the guy who had produced Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde albums, and Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison and “I Walk the Line” records.

What happened after that is murky, beautiful and puzzling.

According to the liner notes of Wilson’s debut album, Johnston answered the door to find Wilson standing there, saying “I’m Bill Wilson and I want to make a record.”

“Well, you came to the wrong house,” Johnson answered. “You can’t just show up and make a fucking record.”

“Will you listen to one song?” asked Wilson.

“One song,” said Johnston.

A Vietnam vet who hung around in the Austin scene, Wilson’s spark must have been evident to Johnston, because the producer let the singer in, allowed him to play 12 songs, and as legend has it – there are no official notes that confirm it – rounded up many of the guys who played on Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde to record Ever Changing Minstrel in one night.

The album was re-released on CD by Tompkins Square a couple of years ago, and that’s likely what I came across as I clicked my way through blogs one day. The album’s closing track, “Monday Morning Strangers,” popped up this morning as I looked for a Monday song, and I’m glad it did. The track, Nichols wrote, “pulls out a ‘sleepy sidewalk pushes on’ line . . . with the loneliness of Sunday replaced by a ‘whenever Monday morning rolls around.’ Added bonus: the track contains one of the juiciest Allman Brothers-like guitar solos unearthed in a long time.”

Wilson never knew his debut album – he recorded a few more after Ever Changing Minstrel – was re-released; he passed on, Nichols notes, in 1993.

So, here, as part of our occasional Monday Morning series, is Bill Wilson’s “Monday Morning Strangers.


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