Deer Tick/Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams
Beyond the Eternal Old-Timey
Divided 50-50 fast ones-slow ones, this doesn't rock as unreservedly as the bar-burning "The Bump," "Something to Brag About," and "Let's All Go to the Bar" want you to think. But it's sure the right course correction for guys who've always fetishized the eternal old-timey more than any band from goddamn Providence should. There's release along the lines of "I don't care if you puke in my ride/Let's all go to the bar/Baby just as long as you take your piss outside/Let's all go to the bar." And on drummer Dennis Ryan's "Clownin' Around" there's an equally satisfying release from heroin, the closet, child abuse, or some combination of the three‑-maybe prison, maybe death, maybe hell. A MINUS
The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams (Egyptian/CMF/Columbia)
Unlike Woody Guthrie, Williams is loved more for his singing than his lyrics, and boy does some of this retrofitted doggerel lack character as entuned and delivered. Hank's granddaughter Holly and Amy's hubby Vince you'd guess, Uncle Merle reciting a farewell sermon probably not. But what you definitely wouldn't figure is Nashville tastemonger Patty Loveless accessing her inner twang or a Dylan named Jakob grabbing an unusually witty lament (OK, maybe he had dibs of some kind). And what you'd only hope is Alan Jackson imparting just the right gravity to the despairing opener‑-or Jack White two-stepping his find so lustily you know he has an all-Hank cover album on his life list, and that it can't possibly match up. B PLUS
I've especially been enjoying "Now It's Your Turn," the opening of which seems to act as the (we didn't know there was one) missing link between two 1976 releases: Warren Zevon's "Hasten Down the Wind" and the Stones' "Memory Motel."
Oh, those wacky Pitchfork kids...The same Ian Cohen who yesterday wrote that he kinda sorta likes the new Coldplay record (7.0) today hates (he actually uses that word) the new Deer Tick record (3.9). And at face the review isn't poorly written, but I'll be damned if I can follow the logic behind the enmity. (Tried to post an excerpt, but...well, you know...) Anyway, we get it, man. Deer Tick are better live--lots of bands are. But what, exactly, about the material, performances, or production on Divine Providence engenders "hate"? (Or is it simply that Deer Tick's 15 minutes of Pitchfork fame are up?)
burraburrahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greasy_Truckers_Live_at_Dingwalls_Dance_Hallgreasy howya doin'?
Surprise, surprise, the Henry Cow tracks are the standouts (Gong not bad) and, as the entry notes, finally available elsewhere (though pricey).
there is more Man to be had. I'm getting on it
Be careful -- Man before guitarist Deke Leonard is an iffy proposition. (And I'm part Welsh!) Although the first two albums from the pre-Man band Help Yourself are high quality, pastoral, Brit psyche-folk.
- Miles Davis: The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel (Columbia, 7CD)
- Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Rahsaan: The Complete Mercury Recordings of Roland Kirk (Mercury, 10CD)
- John Coltrane: The Classic Quartet: Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings (Impulse, 8CD)
- Eric Dolphy: Complete Prestige Recordings (Prestige, 9CD)
- Miles Davis: The Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (Columbia/Legacy, 6CD)
- Dexter Gordon: The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions (Blue Note, 6CD)
- Sonny Rollins: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (RCA, 6CD)
- Art Ensemble of Chicago: Art Ensemble 1967-68 (Nessa, 5CD)
- Herbie Hancock: The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions (Blue Note, 6CD)
- Paul Desmond: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (RCA, 5CD)
Chris mentioned that Music Club's Coltrane In a Soulful Mood is really a repackage of Coltrane's 1957 Bethlehem recordings but neglected to add that they're utter crap.
Enough of a segue with Chris's post that I can now feel comfortable dropping this shaggy dog non sequitur -- Of all things to jump out at me from Joe's list last week was a Brinsley Schwarz BO I'd never heard of called 15 Thoughts. Found it paired with another BO and may or may not buy it since it seems that I have a lot of the tracks already. But in the searching I ran across a live album recorded in 1972 called Greasy Truckers Party. Maybe the more anglo-centric will have heard of it but I never had. Seems that it's the long lost recording of a multi-band benefit for the Greasy Truckers who were "a loose organisation of individuals whose ideals were based on those of the Diggers in San Francisco, recycling money into worthwhile causes", in the case of this concert, a hostel in Notting Hill Gate. Apparently the concert itself is quite legendary. Someone more familiar with the facts of the matter can add on from here.
The point of my story is that the album finally released in 2007 includes the full sets of three bands -- Man, Brinsley Schwarz and Hawkwind (neck snaps from the contrasts). The Brinsley Schwarz contribution is 15 songs. So far I've only snagged my three favorites, "Country Girl", "Silver Pistol" and "Surrender to the Rhythm", all not-so-coincidentally Nick Lowe vocals. Lowe is politely spontaneous, the band is tight and the still-catchy-after-all-these-years, concluding "Surrender, yeah, to the rhythm" is very much worth seeking out if you're enough of a fan to have read this far. It goes right into the All-Time 5 Star catalogue.
The rest of the album suggests George Michael and Hall and Oates at their cleverly hookiest. Normally that description wouldn't entice me but it's such a lax year for verse/chorus/verse.
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.