Lucinda Williams' 11 Best Songs

Categories: Commentary

Lucinda Williams
For the better part of four decades, Lucinda Williams has been one of Texas' best and most dependable songwriters and performers. Over the course of ten albums, Williams has moved from earthy blues and folk to jangly country/pop and has even dabbled in more contemporary sounds. What has remained consistent is her breathtaking vocal delivery and unflinching honesty.

In anticipation of Williams performing this Thursday at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, we at DC9 decided to take a shot at listing the eleven best songs in this woman's impressive catalogue.

See also: Lucinda Williams was damn near perfect at the House of Blues (2009)

11. Changed the Locks - from 1988's self-titled third effort (still considered by many to be her best effort), "Change the Locks" is one of Williams' most hard hitting numbers. Her sneering vocal performance fits the song's ill-tempered mood. The Silos do a great version of this on their 1994 album Susan Across the Ocean.

10. Steal Your Love - from 2001's Essence, this mid-tempo cut is filled with yearning and regret: two of Williams' most common themes. The album always gets a bad rap from fans, but "Steal Your Love" fits right alongside Williams' best work.

9. Six Blocks Away - the opening cut from 1990's Sweet Old World, "Six Blocks Away" is one of Williams' best jangle pop/country songs. Interestingly, the song's lyrics offer none of the music's bright optimism. Perhaps that is why the song works so well.

8. Right in Time - the first blast from 1998's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, "Right in Time" set the tone for what some critics have called Williams' best album. Most great albums begin with a great song and this time was no exception.

7. Pineola - Also from Sweet Old World, "Pineola" concerns the suicide of southern poet Frank Stanford, who shot himself in the heart in 1978.

6. Fruits of My Labor - Another great opening cut, "Fruits of My Labor" starts off 2003's World Without Tears with a slow, affecting waltz. Williams' singing here is simply amazing as her Louisiana twang is drawn out to epic proportions.

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Over Time.  Perfect economic lyric to convey tons of sobs, a restrained and beautiful guitar by Doug Pettibone.  A country sad song classic.


All these songs that everyone has mentioned are great, but-

everyone keeps talking about Lu's way with words, yet no one mentioned the song "Words" which, of course, describes perfectly her relationship with words in her own wonderful words.

What about "Mama You Sweet"?  "Fancy Funeral"?  "Unsuffer Me"?  "Copenhagen"?  "Born to be Loved"?  "Ugly Truth"?  "Are You Down"?  "Jackson"?  

The 'beautiful truth' is that Lucinda is so utterly talented that she has created something special for each and every one of us.  She truly is one of the all time greats.     


Sweet Old World? Something About What Happens When We Talk?



Kiss like your kiss

Born to be loved

Right in time

Metal Firecracker


Bus to Baton Rouge

Sweet old world

Are you alright

Over time

Those three days


1. Side Of The Road

2. Right In Time

3. Fruits Of My Labor

4. Greenville

5. Still I Long For Your Kiss

6. Can't Let Go

7. Bus To Baton Rouge

8. Something About What Happens When We Talk

9. Righteously

10. Are You Alright

11. Like A Rose

(In no particular order and subject to change! )


Does "Which Will" count since it's a cover? That's my favorite.


1.) I Envy The Wind

 2.) Like A Rose

 3.) West

4.) Fruits of My Labor

5.) Ventura

6.) Joy

7.) I Lost It

8.) Minneapolis

9.) Blue

10.) Pineola

11.) Righteously


1.) 2 Kool 2 B 4-Gotten 

2.) Ventura 

3.) Those Three Days

4.) Are You Alright? 

5.) Sweet Old World 

6.) Lake Charles 

7.) Sweet Side 

8.) Car Wheels On A Gravel Road 

9.) Crescent City 

10.) Righteously 

11.) Essence

Lucinda Williams has such a beautiful way with words that underscore the true grit and gut wrenching candor of raw emotion that she expresses with divine eloquence. She belongs in the same realm of Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, Patti Smith, and even Bob Dylan. American roots music at its finest.


I think "I Lost It" from her Happy Woman Blues album should be included. It's a great song. Walter Hyatt used to do a good version of it.



1. 2 Kool 2 B 4-gotten

2. Big Red Sun Blues

3. Right In Time

4. Crescent City

5. Can't Let Go

6. Lake Charles

7. Get Right With God

8. The Night's Too Long

9. Passionate Kisses

10. Greenville

11. Essence


!- Car Wheels on a gravel road


3-Sweet Old World

4-Too Cool To Be Forgotten

5-Fruits Of My Labor


7-I Envy the Wind

8- Come On

9-Lake Charles

10-Honey Bee



Anyone who was present at the Kentucky Theater in Lexington a few years ago for the Luncinda/ Charlie Louvin Troubador concert will tell you that "Come On" should definitely be at the number one positon on this list.


Seeing Black is about the suicide of Vic Chesnutt not about an ex-lover


A lot of great songs here, along with some odd choices.  I wouldn't even put Side of the Road in the top ten--good song though it is; and I'm grateful for the heads up because I'd negected it.  And the number two here should surely make room for more memorable songs.  Where's Jackson?  Or Can't Let Go?  Or Convince Me?  Or I Envy the Wind?  There's no accounting for taste.


Lucinda does have that 'artist angst' but she can also bring it when she wants. Where are those songs Joy, Come On, Righteously, Sweet Side...


Wow, "Car Wheels On a Gravel Road" was a great album.  I can think of 3 or 4 songs off the top of my head that I like better than the two listed here (Joy, Can't Let Go, Jackson), but agree that the two listed are pretty stout as well.


@scmaculous the only person who mentions Lucinda's greatest (and her personal favorite) song...Minneapolis altho Copenhagen is a close 2nd

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