Loudon Wainwright III/Lee Ranaldo
What Do You Mean You're an Old Man? I'm the Old Man Around Here.
Loudon Wainwright III: Older Than My Old Man Now (2nd Story Sound)
A reluctant 50, he started playing the Old card with the adulthood album Grown Man; now, a saggy stripling of 65, he trumps himself with a mortality album. Wainwright has been writing death songs for years, of course, but on his eighth album and label of the young century the theme turns concept. In one song he's a ghost; another features a reflection his late father wrote about his own late father; the one that begins "Somebody else I knew just died" is followed by the one called "The Days That We Die." Family members abound, including the late Kate McGarrigle in a remake of her sole co-write with her husband, from before either was 30, which happens to be called "Over the Hill." There are cameos from Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Chris Smither, John Scofield, the winsome Dame Edna Everage; Tom Lehrer declined but loved how Wainwright fit the word "Mercurochrome" into "My Meds." With Elliott, Loud-O bids for a do-over: "You don't know what you're doin' and you can't just wait;/You go ahead and do it and then it's too late/You need a double lifetime." After he goes down on his knees and prays, as he promises he will, this album will be Exhibit A on his application. A
Lee Ranaldo: Between the Times and the Tides (Matador)
Never much of a singer even by Sonic Youth standards and always abrasive solo, Ranaldo applies his best-in-band chops to riffage and filigree so lovely his well-meaning and far from altogether tuneless plainsong has the welcome effect of situating the guitar in the same reality occupied by his lyrics, which always make sense and often seem a mere detail away from total lucidity. Throughout he recaptures the repose of A Thousand Leaves's "Hoarfrost," his will to reconciliation and renewal always palpable whether the songs reach out or recalibrate his options. Just the album you'd hope from a thoughtful 56-year-old after his band of 30 years breaks up. Best in show is "Angles," a love song to someone he knows well and can always stand to know better. Not a bandmate, either. A MINUS
Today's bad mood music:
Faith No More - Angel Dust
Hole - Live Through This
Voivod - Infini
Voivod - Katorz
Black Flag - Damaged
Husker Du - Zen Arcade
Rage subsiding. Pulse slowing. Anger fading.
The new archives and library is a big new multi million dollar structure that was built at the nearby Tri-C college. It's definitely worth a visit just check out the cool stuff
If you are ever so lucky to be married to as wonderful a spouse as mine, then let me tell you a story. I got the most wonderful gift from her for my 40th. She still won't tell me what it cost her but I got a behind the scenes tour of the vaults curated by Jim Henke. Got to see handwritten lyrics and notebooks (Cobain, Dylan, and Westerberg, etc.), and Outfits (MJ's- much taller than I expected, Prince- much shorter than I realized, Britney, etc..) and Guitars ( Lennon, Hendrix, Clapton, Waters, Wolf, Ramone, etc...) posters, etc. My head was spinning as all of this was being brought out to me by white gloved people working back in the vault. Most interesting and coolest object was the reel to reel tape machine prominent on the cover of the Basement Tapes. I didn't realize until then it was the actual seven inch reel to reel they recorded with. I know these are just museum pieces but it was so much more to me as a music fanatic. I'm glad to have seen some history. Love my wife.
So the R&RHOF is calling that stuff I gave them the Robert Christgau Collection, eh?
Patrick and everyone else-I finally visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland last July-after putting it off forever.
I tied it in with a Yankees' road trip and saw the Yankees play the Indians- 2 games-
while I was there. Great stadium by the way.
The library is a new feature that wasn't available when I was there-the Xgau collection
would have been on my list-for sure.
As far as the Hall goes-I enjoyed it. Beautiful architecture. Inside and out. Setting on Lake Erie.
They suggest you do a sequential thus chronological tour-which I did. I was very impressed
at the emphasis -at the beginning -on the black influence on rock and roll. Well done.
Elvis, The Beatles, Dylan and the Stones were featured prominently as you moved along at whatever pace
you chose. The Beatles exhibit was easily the most popular-the day I was there. There was a continuous video of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan etc.-which gave people a chance to rest their feet. It took about 3-4 hours-including lunch at the cafeteria. Admission was $20. I wish it was in my neck of the woods (NY)-I'd be a regular.
Biggest birthday surprise--a Wussy t shirt from my sister-in-law, Georgia. Best listening on the getaway trip to Vermont--Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Best part of the whole thing--the getaway.
We all seem to be on the same page on this one.
Clever idea, Edgar. Clever song relationships. "Rocky Raccoon" to "The Deeper In" is a frightening prospect though.
Jazz recommendation - Worktime by Sonny Rollins. Maybe not his best but it's a blast and easy to get into.
Re how years pan out musically, as a non-professional listener I'm always catching up with the previous year at the beginning, then catching up. I think a lot of the big releases come towards the second half of the year anyway. Release schedules may change in the download era but Christmas will always be a big buying time.
Separating the artist from the art is one thing I've learned I must.
Am having a little trouble doing that with the new Amadou & Mariam since several cuts feature convicted girlfriend killer Bertrand Cantat.
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.