Beat’s So Lonely

by groove on January 10, 2013

Charlie Sexton

Back in 1985, a young man by the name of Charles Wayne Sexton released his debut album Pictures For Pleasure which yielded the hit “Beat’s So Lonely”, a song that continues to be on my playlist 27 years later. The album featured a variety of genres of songs from new wave to blues rock to bebop and remains one of the most impressive debut records by a solo artist in my memory. What was most awe-inspiring was the fact that Sexton was only 16 at the time of release. His vocals are more mature than the typical teenager, more like a seasoned veteran of the road. His guitar skills were impressive, so much so that many musicians chose to hire him as a session musician, a list that includes Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Bob Dylan. Now that is huge nod to his talent. He wrote and co-wrote 5 of the 9 songs on the album, also an impressive feat for such a young person. His second album was released when he was 20 years old, already considered to be a veteran of the business.

Born and raised in Texas had it’s advantages with respect to connections. He had the good fortune of working with greats such as Joe Ely, Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan to further develop his skills and talent. His Texas roots are very evident in the sound of the early 90’s band Arc Angels, formed with Doyle Bramhall II (a Stevie Ray sound-alike both in voice and guitar tone), Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon (both of Double Trouble). Unfortunately, the Angel’s broke up after 3 years of internal strife. Charlie has kept very busy in the music business as a session player, member of other touring bands including Bob Dylan’s backing band, leader of other projects such as the Charlie Sexton Sextet and various other live appearances. He is also a producer for many Texan and other North American artists to this day.

I was completely stoked to find this record in near mint condition at Ted’s Paperbacks and Used Books on Sutherland in Kelowna last year. I owned the cassette when I was 15 and played it until my car tape deck eventually ate it sometime in 1988. A couple of years later, I picked up the CD and took very good care of it for a number of years. I burned the CD to my iTunes 6 years ago and then sold the CD in a charity garage sale. Amazingly, I have owned this album in no less than 4 audio formats and the vinyl is, by far, the most satisfying (like you didn’t know I was going to mention that). I don’t think I will be listing this in my shop for sale. If I find another out there in the bins, I will definitely pick it up.

My most recent shopping spree at Ted’s yielded Charlie’s second release “Charlie Sexton“. Ted, you’ve made me a very happy shopper two years in a row!

Cornbread

My decision to pair cornbread with Charlie Sexton in my mind isn’t such a stretch. You see, I have a bit of an obsession with making cornbread. Using different flours, spices and sweeteners. Over the years I’ve tried many variations unfortunately to the disappointment to the men in my life. They just don’t seem to like it. I’ve given up taking it personally. What it comes down to is they just don’t enjoy the taste of cornmeal. Me, I love it. So a couple times a year I set out to try a new variation of the recipe, serve it to the boys and they always give me that look. You know the look. It says “ummm, it’s okay”. So you may ask will I give up my quest for making the guys like cornbread? My answer to you is no way. Maybe I secretly keep trying so I can have the whole pan to myself  :).

Here is my latest variation, which I really like. I used Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, which works wonderfully if you’re trying to reduce or eliminate the gluten in your diet.

Beats So Lonely Cornbread

This recipe was inspired by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s version in The Joy Of Vegan Baking but mine has a bit of heat just like Charlie Sexton when he plays the guitar.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup flour (all purpose or gluten free)

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp canola oil

1 cup corn kernels

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder (add more if you like more heat)

Method

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil a 8 X 8 baking dish.

Combine the milk and apply cider vinegar and set aside.

 This is a great substitute for buttermilk.

Mix the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Add the oil and maple syrup to the milk mixture.

Add the corn kernels to the flour mixture as well as the spices. Combine well then add the milk mixture to the flour and stir until blended.

Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The top should be golden brown.

Let the cornbread slightly cool then cut into desired size squares and enjoy. Cornbread tastes so good right out of the oven. Just don’t burn your tongue.

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