Song:Down So Low
Album:The Best Of Tracy Nelson/Mother Earth
Singer Tracy Nelson has been around since the 60s. She's always been respected by singers and musicians. But she was never able to break through to a wider audience. Down So Low is probably her best known song as Linda Ronstadt covered it. Tracy was born Dec. 27, 1944 in Madison, WI. While attending the University of Wisconsin, she sang in local clubs. She recorded the 1964 album Deep Are The Roots for Prestige Records and she lived in Chicago for a couple of years. Then she moved out to San Francisco and formed the band Mother Earth. Opening for Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix got them a record deal with Mercury and producer Barry Goldberg. Tracy and former Thirteenth Floor Elevators member Powell St. John wrote most of the band's songs. Down So Low appeared on Mother Earth's 1968 debut album Living With The Animals. That album is available on CD from the reissue label Wounded Bird. The band changed after they moved to Nashville. But Tracy was still lead singer and she wrote a lot of the songs. Mother Earth recorded four albums for Mercury and then two albums for Reprise. She recorded Down So Low on her 1974 album for Atlantic Tracy Nelson. This Best Of CD consists of songs from that album and Mother Earth's Reprise albums. Tracy also recorded in the 70s for Columbia and MCA. Her music was highly acclaimed but it didn't sell. So she signed with the roots label Flying Fish and there was less pressure on her to sell records. When Flying Fish closed, Tracy moved to Rounder. Tracy last recorded solo in 2011. In recent years, she had recorded and toured with The Blues Broads. This started out as an informal group but became more permanent in 2012. I'm not sure if they are still around. They last toured in 2014. Tracy's website closed in 2013 so maybe she has retired. She's certainly one of the best singers you never heard of. Here's Tracy Nelson performing Down So Low on The Lonesome Pine Specials 1987.