Ceramic Dog/Chelsea Light Moving
The '80s guitar god grows older
Situated between the forlorn yowl "Lies My Body Told Me" and the impersonal slave chant "Masters of the Internet," the title track, a wordless showcase for leader Marc Ribot's guitar, redeems "rockism"'s raging glory days. I mean, these guys are pissed, yet without a hint of sexist strut or blues-boy self-pity. Six songs-with-lyrics, each with its own vocal signature although there's not a proper singer to be heard, and six instrumentals, some straight and some avant and one a loving yet crudely irreverent "Take Five" cover, converge toward the same goal: demolishing your musical illusions. Really, folks, don't try to download this one free. They want their money. When they say "We're not human like you/We live inside your iPod," that's called sarcasm. A MINUS
Chelsea Light Moving: Chelsea Light Moving (Matador)
For better or worse, and it's both, this is kind of what you'd figure sort of: a Sonic Youth record dominated by that band's most important member. It's also a record that makes us love Steve Shelley, because John Mooney's drums never propel Thurston past virtual pogo territory‑-and that says nothing of what a nice change it used to be to have someone besides Thurston sing. Imagine that "Sleeping Where I Fall" addresses his former bassist-wife if you want, but believe that the whole album is conceived as a bohemian history lesson. Present and accounted for are a flower child who prefers her music free, a song by Darby Crash, a song about Darby Crash, a song to William S. Burroughs, a song linking Dylan to Frank O'Hara, and "Groovy & Linda," who FYI were real hippie speed freaks surnamed Hutchinson and Fitzpatrick who were murdered in a boiler room two blocks from my apartment in 1967. B PLUS
Dave Cohen - The "Hear My Train A-Comin'" that Milo treasures (as do I) can also be found on Hendrix's superb Blues (MCA 1994) collection.
John Smallwood - Xgau recommended George Jones' My Favorites of Hank Williams (Liberty CD) in his 1994 Rock & Roll & piece on George Jones called "The Blank Slate" (essential reading). I actually prefer the earlier George Jones Salutes Hank Williams on Mercury, which Xgau recommended in a 1984 Additional Consumer News section. I believe both the 1984 LP reissue and the later CD version of George Jones Salutes Hank Williams chopped two tracks off the original '60s edition, but one of those two can be found on the 1994 Cup of Loneliness Mercury 2-CD comp.
Dan Weber - I didn't include Lucinda on my list of great guitar solos - credit for that one goes to Melbourne Paul. And I thought of another great one I left out - Phil Manzanera on John Cale's Gun.
You need to delete the phantom %E2%80%8B just before you download.
Many thanks Tom. Looking forward to it.
Being the only thing that stinks, I should recommend that I gave enough information to look it up yourself, but when your beloved boss makes a *New Yorker* cartoon one is in a generous mood even for a nonperson, so I will note that the version is on the *Voodoo Child* anthology, though I prefer the programming on the original *Rainbow Bridge* LP.
Great guitar list Joe. I was particularly pleased you listed Lucinda’s “Blessed” track. At a meager B+, her album made it onto my anti-Dean’s list. As much as I love Lucinda and the tunes, it’s the guitar work of Elvis Costello that makes me spin it again and again. EC: “My consolation was Lucinda and her husband Tom invited me down to play on a session at Capitol Studios. We cut one song live with Lu in the booth and they must have liked what I did, because they kept putting up reels of tape. By the end of the night, I think I must have played on half the record.” That’s Elvis wielding his vintage Jaguar on “Buttercup”, “Seeing Black”, “Convince Me” and of course those nasty, snarling licks throughout “Blessed”. In 2011 RC wrote: “What makes me half believe I'll want to hear this album again is …and every solo Val McCallum gets.” I wonder if it’s really EC he is referring to.
The big problem I had is that his footloose rampages implied a smarter, more articulate, wittier, and more worldly band than the one he was stuck with.
"Hear My Train a Comin'" recorded live at the Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, CA, May 30, 1970.
Not least because you hear the train pull into the station, plain as day, at the climax of the final solo. Sorta the supernova finale to the long history of freedom-train songs.
The new Pistol Annies is streaming on Amazon if anyone's interested in checking it out. After my second listen through, my impression is that this one's less immediately gratifying than their debut, but I suspect it'll grow on my yet. Anyone would have trouble topping "Hell on Heels" though.
Ceramic Dog, *Your Turn*
You gotta be in the mood for its specific complex of abrasions, but then, a triumph. Not for everybody, nonetheless: I agreed with Bob's assessment that the first Ceramic Dog was a three star -- "mixed results" -- but because of the duff tracks I knew I'd never be in the mood to play it often enough to keep it around. This one stays.
Brings a Sigh
Dust, *Hard Attack/Dust* (reissue)
The bene: Marky "Ramone" Bell's drumming is as punchy as I remembered.
The bum: The songs are not.
Especially too bad because *Hard Attack* was, I believe, the first LP I purchased on the East Coast, during a premiere visit in 1973. Probably because I was way into Frank Frazetta. Now his cover is relegated to a tiny illustration in the booklet, a shame because that's about all I enjoy as much as ever. The package even oversellls the band's roar and rampage -- several slow ones bite the root. There's a hog-humping EP inside these two releases, maybe even including the finest slow track, but that's all.
Shows what sentimental memory will do to fool ya. I kept the album all these years, but I should have noted more that I never played it or the debut.
Funniest song of the year so far (I'm sorry):
Future Bible Heroes, "Keep Your Children in a Coma"
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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