Carl Perkins/Willie Nelson
Born barely a year apart
Carl Perkins: The Very Best of Carl Perkins: Blue Suede Shoes (Collectables '98)
Subtly bopping the essence of blues growl and juke-joint thrust, he was more adult, more regional, and more threatening than the Everlys or Buddy Holly. That's one reason he so quickly became a specialty taste artistically and a Nashville born-againer commercially, beloved by guitar adepts and romanticizers of Dixie-fried fundamentalism but legendary for one definitive song only. The guitar people have a point‑-while no James Burton, he had more jam than Scotty Moore and would have gotten where he got without Moore or his big boss man. But if that's all there was to him, he'd deserve to be a specialty taste. It's the songwriting that has reach. "Blue Suede Shoes" aside, these ditties seem to be trifles. Say you will when you won't. Put your cat clothes on. Or your pink pedal pushers. So now you try to do it‑-in 2:46, 2:48, and 2:25 respectively. Fine is the line between a spontaneous throwaway and a miraculous miniature. A
Willie Nelson: Heroes (Legacy)
How much you value this entry in the 79-year-old's unchartable catalogue‑-over and above "Roll Me Up," in which Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, and none other than Snoop Dogg top off the title with the genius punch line "and smoke me when I die"‑-depends on what you make of Willie's 23-year-old son Lukas, who sings on nine of the tracks and wrote three of them. I think one of his originals is aces, one self-sustaining, and one‑-which naturally goes on for six minutes‑-the worst thing on the record. But once I learned to distinguish him from the half-century older Billie Joe Shaver, who undercuts the solemn title track with his patented off-the-cuff aplomb, I decided that Lukas's stoned-hillbilly affect was just what his dad needed to distinguish this particular assortment of what-thes, why-hasn't-he-evers, and written-to-orders from rival entries in his unchartable catalogue. B PLUS
Also reminds me that the publicist never sent me the album, not that knowing that will do me any good now. (Something I know because I know the publicist.)
Some guy on Amazon named "Milo Miles" (not "Not Milo Miles") says:
Although it's not evident, this is a straight reissue of the 1972 Warner Bros. album produced by Van Dyke Parks and reportedly recorded in a single overheated evening during a hurricane, with much later fiddling by Mr. Parks. These are remakes of established Sparrow classics, but it's one of the all-time sublime remake albums, with the dense arrangements, horn sections, chorus singers and the rest of Parks's Beach-Boyish studio fantasy swirling gracefully around Sparrow's bravura vocals. A calypso record unlike any other. (For some reason, the track list is a mess and does not reflect the song sequence on the disc. But all 10 tunes are there.)
What I want to know is -- aside from the question of why a guy with an avianic (is that the word?) sobriquet would reissue an album on "Wounded Bird Records" -- does this material dovetail (ha ha) with the material on the lackluster K7 and VP compilations?
A group project sounds best, Chris. Seems like Blair did something similar too even though it wasn't confined to a single year. And Bradley for sure would be welcome. Not to leave anybody out but that's just the non-pros off the top of my head.
Adele's "21" album still the best seller this year. Really? Are comparisions to Thriller acceptable yet, in terms of sales? We'd have to adjust for the rampant piracy that has gutted the industry, so if there was no piracy maybe it would be close, no?
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.
live local music on
Enter your ZIP code to see concerts happening in your area.
Data provided by Zvents