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
Playing Born on Flag Day this morning to reacquaint myself, and plan on hearing the Little Brother today as well. I second Jeff's shout out. I'm sure I'll love the new one.
The two songs I'm the most excited to hear on the Hank are the Bob D. and Lucinda tracks. Xgau doesn't mention them. Not sure if that's a good or bad omen.
I hope to get to the new Tom Waits as well.
Alright! A new Deer Tick album to pair with my beloved Middle Brother.
Xgau: No B&N piece this month?
(first impression upon seeing the day's EW choices: "are you really going out of your way to find the most boring records imaginable?") (secondary impressions: "define boring." "boring to whom?" "how much is that doggie in the window?") (i think i'm outta here for now.)
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.