Gurf Morlix/Blaze Foley
Gurf Morlix: Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream (Rootball)
Eccentric even for a city that brags about its eccentrics, Austinite Blaze Foley inspired Lucinda Williams's "Drunken Angel" and had the best luck of his star-crossed career when Merle Haggard made "If I Could Only Fly" the title song of an excellent 2000 comeback album that didn't sell much. By then he'd been dead a decade, killed by the gun-toting son of a friend he was standing up for. His legend hasn't been helped by master tapes that kept getting lost, stolen, or seized by federal agents, but on these 15 songs his guitarist friend Gurf gets to cherry-pick and hook up with a drummer. Irresistible as John Prine for an opening section capped by the homelessness ditty "No Goodwill Stores in Waikiki," they sink into a slough of despond that starts feeling right comfy before the record rises up with "Small Town Hero," in which the duct tape abuser gets the last word on the high school sports star. Foley never mistook his dysfunction for a cause or felt sorry for himself about anything but women, and even there not much. He made his bed wherever. A MINUS
Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah (Lost Art)
With Foley's posthumous albums patchier than need be, this documentary soundtrack is where to pay your respects. Before he passed at 39, Foley's resonant voice had been roughed up by alcohol and the crusty life, but his easy flow was always something to hear. Without the five keepers it shares with the Morlix tribute, its slow ones would be hard to take‑-"Our Little Town" makes six minutes feel like a sermon so long the roast gets burnt‑-but Morlix doesn't do "Let Me Ride in Your Big Cadillac," "Living in the Woods in a Tree," or "Cosmic Doo Doo," and all are candidates for canonization. Too bad both records pass on "WW III," "Oval Room," and the jokingly, shockingly sadistic "Springtime in Uganda." Foley clearly never thought living in a car diminished his citizenship one little bit. B PLUS
The Rolling Stone paradox: we all hate it. Yet, we all read it.Speak for yourself, kemo sabe. I haven't looked at a word of it and have no intention of doing so. Mostly because everything I've heard about this issue conforms to the following --
a never-ending stream of excruciatingly safe selections all presented with excruciatingly banal blurbs from know-nothings, nobodies, and superstars of various importance, the best of which are by now too awfully bored with complementing their co-equals to say anything worthwhile, the worst of which know so little about their craft that they had nothing worthwhile to contribute in the first place.
Also (and I'm stealing this from somebody online today) how great would it have been if they had done something like this for Stevie Wonder's 60th birthday last year?
Another "rave" for The Hollies "Evolution". Found a copy recently at a yard sale for $ 1. Nice crackly Mono. Grabbed a cool Mel Brown LP --"Chicken Fat" too. Xgau liked his album "The Wizard" - so I took a chance. A fun listen.
Oh and since I'm going there - anyone spend any time with Grant Green? I heard a few tracks on my local jazz station and quite liked the CDs I've sampled.
who's the most overrated band ever?Castrati performances that nobody's ever heard. Buddy Bolden's outfit that nobody's ever heard. I mean, Pan probably wasn't as hot on the pipes as they claimed, either.
Most overrated recorded band? This is a media question, right?
Paul Whiteman? Naw, he got redeemed to a decent degree.
Pat Boone? Yeah, but the hype is so distant it doesn't matter. (See: Mitch Miller.)
Lawrence Welk? Eeh, he's always been in a sort of toilet.
What is the Eagles' legacy, really?
I mean, who's had a pernicious influence, unchallenged, in popular music?
- Look under Local Links for Music, and click that.
- For the ratings database, look for Introduction to Ratings Database, and click that. The rest of the file has more or less self-explanatory links to all sorts of music-related things.
- On the gray page, the ratings are organized by genre and (sometimes) period. The period is when someone got started: Duke Ellington is Jazz '20s, Thelonious Monk Jazz '40s, Rolling Stones Rock '60s, etc. I used 10-year chunks for rock and 20-year chunks for jazz because at the time I came up with this I had more rock than jazz -- no longer true.
There are also several thousand reviews and crypto-reviews and pidgin notes scattered elsewhere, but I've never figured out how to stuff them into a real database like I did for Christgau's CG reviews.
I am so sorry not all of you were able to attend the first meeting of the Expert Witness blog commentators, the Expert Witness Wits. In attendance were Jason Gubbels, his son Mingus, and myself. The charming pic is here...
Pop music criticism...bringing people together! (tear rolls down cheek)
The Velvets were later, but at the time of Evolution my hay hauling and irrigation pipe moving buddies and I would "imitate" the Hollies by singing "Hey hairy hams" as loud as we could out in the field. Why? Because we were high school boys, that's why.
Milo -- did your generation listen to the Velvets during that time period,Well, I don't know about my generation, but kids in dink MT towns sure didn't even know they existed. My freshman year in college when I walked into that Bozeman bookstore and picked up Lilian Roxon is when I discovered the VU. I was crushed when I found out they were already gone.
It's interesting that the Mothers of Invention, on the same label and everything, penetrated, while the VU did not. (I guess it shows who they thought was really dangerous.) ((Of course, there were those comic-book ads, too.))
PS: As a follow-up further tribute to my perceptive old music buddy, he became a bit of a Doors freak after the debut. I dropped out and eventually we had a rift when I told him I thought a lot of their sides were tedious. We really came together on "Riders on the Storm," though, and, gotta say, it was this same guy who turned me on to Iggy and the Stooges debut. ("Really important record, man.") And he credited his fascination with Jimbo.
Years later, I tried to return the favor with Joy Division, but he couldn't hear anything going on. Say la wee wee.
Joe -- wasn't that Richard Butler of the P-Furs on that track...? Or was that on the other Weill comp/tribute?
(Later) Okay, looked it up. David Jo is on September Songs, the other Weill comp, by which I mean the other Weill rock-oriented comp/tribute. I always thought September Songs was spottier, which kind of blew my mind -- an album with Sting on it is better than one with PJ Harvey on it??
However, even in high school, my music-goofy circle couldn't get through "The End" without laffing like crazy (the same guy who was perceptive about Alice Cooper, btw, thought that the Kurt Weill cover really jumped out as an original sound, researched who that was, and gave us all a cool as sh!t tidbit to lord over the mere uprights in the hallways).
But a few years later, there was a cathartic redemption with the Gizmos and "Chicken Queen (The [A$$] End)." After nearly expiring with glee several times ("Chicken?? ... "Yes, Queen?" ... "Chicken???" ... "yes, queen?") I found I could listen to Jimbo's epic without laffing at it. Now I just smile at its more preposterous moments, and often turn it off before the, uh, end.
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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