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
Too bad both records pass on "WW III," "Oval Office," and the jokingly, shockingly sadistic "Springtime in Uganda."Anyone know if "Oval Office" is really the track "Oval Room" from the album of the same name ?
SpaceCoast - I definitely remember where I bought the great majority of my albums, and in many cases I could tell you how much I paid and what else I bought at the same time. I wish I'd kept a record of what I bought and when - it would be really interesting to see how that evolved. And as far as record-buying rituals, obsessions and systems... oof, I wouldn't even know where to start. Once I discovered that getting rid of lesser albums tended to improve the collection, I became obsessed with keeping it lean, but I had this rule that if Xgau gave an album an A or A+, then I had to keep it. Eventually I said screw it and ended up unloading 75+ A albums at once, and probably getting way less than I should have for them. If there were other Xgau fans shopping at Primitive, they must have gotten real excited after that.
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??
Chris: Have fun.
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Ooch. I'd say more than a few years -- around 20.My bad! I was thinking of people a few years older than Xgau now as of two decades ago. Big band enthusiasts (who were there) would be pushing the century mark now, I guess.
It ended up being all those terms at once (classical, prog, big band, effete, pretentious)
That's some sort of achievement for sure. But isn't saying one dislikes "effete, pretentious" music kinda like saying "I hate rude people"?
Sondheim's name has come up several other times, though. Go to the site's main page and do a search.
Some department store, if I recall. 1960. Or it may have been '61. Mother had relatives out there. Salem was the first Big City I knew.
Maybe a shot in the dark here, but it was probably Meier and Frank (now a Macy's) since that was the big shopping magnet in town back then. Or maybe just wishful thinking since that's where I bought my first records too.
I grew up in a small town 14 miles from here and always thought Salem was as cool as a town could get. It actually had a movie theater. Three of them. So what more could you want. Probably explains a lot about me.
Milo: What store in Salem? When was that? And how did you make that a shopping trip from MT?
Some department store, if I recall. 1960. Or it may have been '61. Mother had relatives out there. Salem was the first Big City I knew. Went to Chicago once but it was too overwhelming. Did visit the Field Museum, though, and that helped spark a lifelong fascination with dinosaurs, which have turned out to be more and more fascinating creatures. (Why, I'm watching some of them peck insects off the lawn.)
First CD - We got a CD player as a wedding gift in 1988. Flew into the Boston the next for a New England honeymoon (Changing colors and all). Instead of seeing sights, we went to a Tower Records and I got The Feelies Only Life. I know it's not their greatest, but it will always have sentimental value.
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.