Neil Young/David Bowie
Neil Young International Harvesters: A Treasure (Reprise)
Two remakes from Old Ways, two from Re-ac-tor, one from Harvest, and one from Buffalo Springfield, plus six more or less "new" songs, all recorded a quarter century ago. Reads like the profit-taking vault dig it is. What it sounds like, however, is the redemption of Young's lost mid-'80s‑-the countryish album Old Ways was supposed to be, neither rote like Re-ac-tor nor static like that sacred cow Harvest. Ben Keith, Spooner Oldham, and Tim Drummond know Nashville but can play whatever, in this case a loping rock bent and flavored by Rufus Thibodeaux's Cajun fiddle. You bet Young knew how thematic the superb "Nothing Is Perfect" was when he stuck it just before the farewell "Grey Riders," a spooky signal that deep down he was the same nut he'd always been. A MINUS
David Bowie: Station to Station (Special Edition) (EMI)
Normally I ignore "enhanced" classics, as should you, so to distinguish among iterations, this is the three-CD boxlet released in 2010. It includes three color photos of the Thin White Duke, a flier hawking Geoff MacCormack's "signed, limited edition" Travels With Bowie 1973-76, informative notes, the original album in its own wee sleeve, and‑-the bait, in a wee double sleeve‑-Bowie's March 23, 1976 performance at Nassau Coliseum, warm New York Times review by John Rockwell included, hot Village Voice review by Robert Christgau not. In addition to an echoing momentum with no precedent or aftermath in Bowie's melodramatic oeuvre, highlights include "I'm Waiting for the Man" with blues uptick, "TVC-15" with New Orleans accent, and a set list that stumbles only on the stone in his passway that is "Word on a Wing." It nails a galvanizing arena-rock that you can almost hear hitting a groove that had dissipated disappointingly just three days later at Madison Square Garden. But please note that I said "almost hear." As we all should know by now, rarely do galvanizing performances live on in artifact the way they do in memory. Whether this one you missed is worth your 25 bucks depends, I suspect, on just how seriously you credit the artiste's Anglophiliac legend. A MINUS
And yes that means I now have my first Pulnoc or PPotU. Thanks again can't wait to hear it.
Jason: I know you're too modest to toot your own horn, but your blog entry for today deserves to be read by everyone here.
I should mention that my wife insists I ration my reading of Thomas Frank--something in his combination of calm analysis and righteous outrage causes my blood pressure to spike every time (Krugman has the same effect--I'm allowed to read his column, but can only dip into his blog every other day).
Be careful though. Sometimes the video allows the ear to tolerate incredibly crappy sound, so once the video is gone the appeal may diminish.
Have any of you ever used an flv conversion program on Youtube videos?
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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