Low Cut Connie/Andre Williams & the Sadies
Dirty Deeds Done Cheap
Low Cut Connie: Call Me Sylvia (lowcutconnie.com)
Trying to make ends meet as the bar band of their dreams, they add muscle to their sound and lose a smidgen of edge in their writing. But that doesn't stop them from preserving 15 songs for posterity instead of the 10 they settled for on their equally self-financed debut. Adam Weiner shouldn't feel obliged to prove he's got big ballads in him, and "Cleveland" proves it. Right afterwards, fortunately, the final five tracks turn out to be where the edge takes over: two simultaneously lively and soulful Dan Finnemore love songs and three Weiner numbers, one stranger than the next and all redolent of a piano man's bar-band life. "Scoliosis in Secaucus" breaks up the love songs. The low-key voice-and-guitar envoi "Dreams Don't Come True" speaks for itself and Frank Sinatra. And done as a final-call blues, "(No More) Wet T-Shirt Contest" is Weiner's most twisted fable of the down-and-dirty life to date: "I feel like my Christian phase is comin'/My fans are gettin' pretty bored/But meanwhile I just keep on hummin'/Here in the bosom of the Lord." A MINUS
Andre Williams & the Sadies: Night and Day (Yep Roc)
Despite the occasional charms of albums on such indie-roots imprints as Bloodshot and In the Red, I've never trusted this 75-year-old "legend"'s legend. And indeed, although research indicates that the writing credits on "Twine Time" and "Shake a Tail Feather" check out, the rumored plethora of r&b hits add up to just two as per Joel Whitburn. So he's one of those old bullshit artists young musicians love because they're such great bullshit artists; he's an authenticity marker all the more convincing because he's also a known fraud. Unsurprisingly, his current Bloodshot album, featuring actual Motown-funk legend Dennis Coffey, isn't even worth a check-out. But these 13-songs-in-35-minutes, cut half in 2008 when he was drunk and half in 2010 when he was sober, are shockingly strong for the first eight or nine, which unfortunately include all the drunk ones. Songs about getting your friend out of jail and about moving in on your friend's wife while he's there. Songs about how Africa's even worse than America and how Joliet is Mississippi's sister. A pounding song that begins "The worst thing in the world is a black man being bored." Long beloved of 2010 guardian angel Jon Langford, Ontario's Sadies prove just as rowdy and adaptable under 2008 overseer Jon Spencer, especially with Sally Timms and Kelly Hogan shoring up that young bullshit artist's cred by singing backup. A MINUS
Kenny-someone should right a book about the 2012 Oaland A's.
I'd call it Money Ball. Just a thought.
Observations: Demographically it was what you'd expect...70/30 men to women. Most men there, like me , are fighting the mid-life waist expansion and receding hair lines. Enthusiasm was plentiful.
Started off playing/ vamping on "Who Do You Love" which morphed into "Fountain and Fairfax"
Here's the rest-
We Two Parted/Dead Body
You, My Flower
See and Don't See
No "Honky's Ladder" or "Miles Iz Dead" but no worries. Not much talking between songs, was hoping to hear about a new album in the works but most likely Greg will go his way and I'll go mine, because there were no new material either played or mentioined during the concert.
Final analysis- A great live band worth your hard earned consumer dollars. Also, I'm old and I can't party like I used to. My friends and I got a car so we could imbibe and that was a smart move. Why are the lights so loud today?
[Peter Lorre voice]
"How the HELL should I know? I vasn't AT the DC show. Vhat do you VANT from me?"
[/Peter Lorre voice] [nb Billy & Mandy ref]
All I can say is that I was very, very (very very) tired and had to leave after 50 minutes. Quite a rockin' show, Tucker a natural as ever. Sound miserably bad in that club, as ever.
Have to add though, re-listening to the album, thought it was a standout workout before. Now it sounds like one of the year's best.
FWIW, i was pleasantly surprised to learn that our host rated Freewheelin so highly among '60s Dylan releases. I really should replace my worn vinyl with a remastered CD on that one.
Trying to come up with a list of similar drumless acoustic warriors i enjoy, i came up empty after Ani DiFranco (who I know realize is one of the greats), Dan Bern and of course the aforementioned Phil Ochs. Acoustic Neil too I guess, but I prefer Electric Neil.
To oversimplify: when the material on *Anthology of American Folk Music* was new, it wasn't understood as "folk music." It was just music. The more music in those modes becomes self-consciously "folkie," the more it needs bashing. Seems to me certain performers like Fred Neil would have been the same no matter was going on in the world. Peter, Paul and Mary would have been singing waiters without the movement.
I can't add anything important to Bob's guide to the Fugs.
Other folks associated with the folk-music era who have worthy sarsaparilla punch include Koerner, Ray & Glover ("Blues Rags and Hollers," "Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers") and don't overlook the superb one-off, "Running Jumping Standing Still" by "Spider" John Koerner and Willie Murphy. (Though I would argue all of these albums have at least as much to do with acoustic blues as any other mode of rural tunes.)
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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