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
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.
James Taylor beat the Flying Machine hands down
A post on the Fort Knox Facebook page reads, "After learning of opening act Ted Nugent's recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation.
"Army Entertainment and the Fort Knox Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation remain committed to carrying out the June 23 concert, and the possibility exists that a replacement will be selected. Co-headliners REO Speedwagon and Styx are still slated to perform.
As for great music from the last few months...you do spend a lot of time on this blog...don't you?
Another A record, go Loud-O.
So last night was my Todd Snider concert. i enjoyed it quite a bit even though he didn't play some of my favorites. At some point during the show he actually apologized for playing so many new songs. "But the new ones are so good" I yelled. Anyway it was great and the venue, The Triple Door, is a great place to see a show. Great food brought to your table during the show. A lot of the artists that play there aren't my style but then I see May 20th, Loudon Wainwright III. I quickly buy a front row table table, cheering my good fortune. It's only then a realize that last month I bought a ticket to see Freedy Johnston the SAME damn night. Cancelled the Loud-O reluctantly. Now his new one gets an A, oh well, I've seen him before and the Freedy, who I've never seen is at an excellent venue.
Exile on Main Street isn't one of my top 5 favorite albums... it isn't even one of my top 5 favorite Stones albums. But, to say that people convince themselves to like it is ridiculous. It's an incredibly fun album. "Rocks Off" is as great an album-opener as "Gimme Shelter" and "Brown Sugar", "Sweet Virginia" has one of the best intros to any song ever, and "Torn and Frayed" is just classic. I do kind of agree about "Shake Your Hips" and "Casino Boogie," though (not among my favorites). I play it just about as often as I play London Calling. I don't really consider London Calling a perfect double-album either, though.
I think Exile is one of those albums people convince themselves they like more than they actually like, because they're supposed to like it.
Are you really pulling the old "you're only pretending to enjoy this" bit? On this board?? About Exile on Main St?!
Record Store Day was a blast this year. I nabbed
The Pistol Annies "Hell On Heels"
Leonard Cohen "Live In Fredericton" EP
Gorillaz - "Do Ya Thing" 10" single
Meat Puppets - II on 45 rpm vinyl
The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends dbl album
but the real treasures were found in the used or sale bins
A mint original Daydream Nation pressing, a still sealed Ornette "In All Languages" and a 30 percent discount on the Grateful Dead vinyl box set of their first five albums released by Warner a year or so ago. Also an original Katrina and the Waves album with "Walking on Sunshine" unadorned by those annoying horns and the Go-betweens "Liberty Belles" for a mere 5 bucks. Ahhh...record store day....I was gratified to see brisk business at all the stores I hit. Folks had stacks of wax and there were line-up at the checkouts. Nice to see the indie stores getting some green. The average age of the patrons appeared to be the mid-twenties as well. Also nice to see.
I never go to the theater yet I have wonderful experiences watching "new" films all the time. I just saw "Withnail and I" (1987) the other night. Tears of laughter were shed. William Friedkin's "Sorcerer" was another recent revelation. I thought it would be a bloated and half-assed remake (ripoff) of the Clouzot classic "Wages of Fear." Wow, was I wrong.
I say this because I don't understand the emphasis on what's new, i.e. currently released, as opposed to "new to you." When I've finished listening to every A- or better from the Dean's Consumer Guide then I'll bitch about the "new" lackluster weekly releases. For now I'll be savoring (new stuff I heard today) Bonjour, Spinning Around the Sun, The Last Mardi Gras, Vol. 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails, and the Janis Box set.
The Lee is a surprise. The Loud-O is not--this old fart had an immediate positive reaction to that one.
Anyway, thanks, Bob. And many happy returns to you and Carola.
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.
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