1. Let The Mystery Be
2. These Hills
3. Hotter Than Mojave In My Heart
4. When Love Was Young
5. Our Town
6. Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room
7. Infamous Angel
8. Sweet Forgiveness
9. After You've Gone
10. Mama's Opry
11. Higher Ground
- Personnel: Iris DeMent (vocals, acoustic guitar); Emmylou Harris, Hal Ketchum, Flora Mae DeMent (vocals); Mark Howard (acoustic guitar); Jerry Douglas, Al Perkins (dobro); Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin); Pete Wasner (piano); Roy Husky, Jr. (acoustic bass); Jim Rooney, Jim Rooney, Jeff Black (background vocals).
- Recorded at The Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa, Nashville, Tennessee. Includes liner notes by John Prine and Iris DeMent.
- Personnel: Iris DeMent (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar); Jim Rooney (vocals, background vocals); Flora Mae DeMent, Hal Ketchum, Jeff Black, Infamous Angel Choir (vocals); Mark Howard (guitar, acoustic guitar); Emmylou Harris (gut-string guitar, background vocals); Jerry Douglas , Al Perkins (dobro); Stuart Duncan (mandolin, fiddle); Pete Wasner (piano); Roy M. "Junior" Husky (upright bass).
- Audio Mixer: Richard Adler .
- Liner Note Author: Iris DeMent.
- Recording information: Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa, Nashville, TN.
- Unknown Contributor Role: Infamous Angel Choir.
- To many fans, Iris DeMent's debut INFAMOUS ANGEL remains the best work of her career. Unlike her later records, which sometimes get mired in political dogmatism and bleak melancholy, INFAMOUS ANGEL is the work of a wide-eyed innocent extolling the simple virtues of love, faith, and home.
- From the whimsical spiritualism of "Let the Mystery Be" to the brisk love song "Hotter Than Mojave in my Heart" through to the album's closing affirmation of faith (the traditional gospel classic "Higher Ground"), INFAMOUS ANGEL evokes a world full of promise and possibility. Best of all are "Our Town," a loving tribute to a dying small town, and "Mama's Opry," a stunningly effective reminiscence of childhood and the effect of a mother's love of music. Accompaniment on all 11 tracks is sparse but sublime, unsurprising given the all-star cast of musicians who appear here: dobro player Al Perkins, bassist Roy Husky Jr., and singer Emmylou Harris, among others. DeMent's vocals, however, are the album's real musical find. Her big voice and broad pronunciation invite comparisons to Hazel Dickens, the great West Virginian old-time singer.
Rolling Stone (12/23/93, p.156) - "...Plainly beautiful, Iris DeMent's voice has the high country clarity rarely heard these days..."
Entertainment Weekly (9/4/92, p.73) - "...a batch of songs about love, home, and family so good you'd swear you've heard them before...I hear America singing--and it sounds like Iris DeMent..." - Rating: A
Q (6/93, p.95) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...her voice is an extraordinary thing, one step back from a perpetual hillbilly yodel. Her songs, too, display an emotional charge and simplicity of touch that can prove joyful and touching by turns, even on potentially soggy material...a performance of almost unnerving naturalness..."
Option (Sep.-Oct./92, p.99) - "...DeMent is a glorious songwriter..."
Melody Maker (5/22/93, p.29) - "...INFAMOUS ANGEL dwells lightly, but not winsomely, on love and home and the riddles of existence....It's also quite lovely...INFAMOUS ANGEL ranks among the best of simple pleasures, for sure..."
Audio Magazine (11/93, p.105) - "...one of the most ingenuous, charming, and original storytelling songwriters in years...."
NME (Magazine) (9/4/93, p.30) - "...INFAMOUS ANGEL is steeped in `Last Picture Show' Americana, without once resorting to rose-tinted nostalgia... Iris DeMent is a high plains drifter of the heart and INFAMOUS ANGEL is 100 years of solitude condensed into 11 cracking tunes..."