After a quiet 1972 which saw no new albums, Hoyt Axton returned in 1973, now signed to A&M Records. His first release on his new label was Less Than The Song, a masterfully produced record with a distinctive, consistent sound throughout. It made use of unique arrangements based around his gravely voice and an acoustic guitar, embellished here and there with piano, slide guitar, female backing vocals, harmonica and other little bits and pieces. The result was a beautifully rich yet subtle sound, with certain spiritual qualities. It was experimental and quirky, but ultimately became one of his most powerful and serious albums.
Most of the songs were very strong original compositions, but it also featured a cover of Arlo Guthrie's "Days Are Short". He had sung backing vocals on the album it was originally on, Guthrie's Hobo's Lullaby (1972), which also featured two Axton songs. Axton's own version of one of these ("Somebody Turned Out The Light") appeared for the first time here on Less Than The Song, meaning that both songs, one by each artist, appear on both albums!
Country Anthem (1971) <|> Life Machine (1974)
More from Hoyt Axton