Drive-By Truckers/Hayes Carll
Good Old Songwriting
Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots (ATO)
A song band and proud, they turn down the boogie so we're sure to get the lyrics, which except for the two Eddie Hintons are laid out as well in a booklet so handsome the habitual downloader may want one for himself (or herself, I wish). Beyond the tribute to a glamorous aunt who knew how to show a five-year-old a good time, Patterson Hood's are most impressive when he channels two lost good old boys we might not like so much in person: well, a vet afraid to own that automatic weapon OK, but how about that cop thrown off the force? Mike Cooley owns the best tunes and the best lines: "like bringing flowers to your Mama and tracking dog shit all over the floor." Shonna Tucker shows Eddie Hinton a good time in the grave. A MINUS
Hayes Carll: KMAG YOYO (Lost Highway)
A little too decisively to instill much hope for his love life, the rowdy songs are deeper than the thoughtful ones, especially the duet with Young Republican Cary Ann Hearst, who thinks she might screw him even though he can't afford to tip the stripper. But he does rowdy real good. And the filial "Grateful for Christmas" enters the canon of alt-country unholiday songs well ahead of the Drive-Bys' competing entry‑-maybe even on a level with James McMurtry's and Robert Earl Keen's. B PLUS
I guess, everyone, else, is alseep now?!
Great late-night listening:
Caetano Veloso - Estrangeiro
Big Bill Broonzy - The Young Big Bill Broonzy
Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron - Hot House
Nat King Cole - The Nat King Cole Story
Well said. The Roxy Music comments make me wonder if Stranded can be enough of a sedative to let you finish your papers without further interruption.
Wait a minute. I just fell into a Yankee lovers trap. Babe Ruth was a great man because he wore the pinstripes. (I'm paraphrasing. Not agreeing.)
EDIT: My hometown is an SF Giants short-season A Minor League affiliate. Tim Lincecum started his pro career here. I looooooove Minor League baseball.
Funny you should say that Bob, I can hear my wife oh so gently sawing logs in the next room. Don't ever let her know I said that.
What length did you set for the papers? 3-5 pages or so?
I dedicate my Harvard collection to my mother's quarter-century-dead father Tom Snyder--also great, but in a very different way it sounds like.
Joey: Get us back on track.
Japadshendrixandthejapadshendrixexperience: Where are you when we need you????
Cam: So true, so true, so true. So much to say, and such an inappropriate time and place to say it.
So I'll go with this. One of the things my dad was most proud of was that it took Doc Severinsen to beat him out of first chair trumpet at an Eastern Oregon High School music competition in the '30's.
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
21 Singles 1984-1998
Inspired by Lost in Translation, whose low-rent soundtrack album needn't concern us further, I've finally achieved closure with the venal The Best of Roxy Music (Virgin), which traces Bryan Ferry's evolution in perverse reverse--faux faux lounge lizard turning back the years into fine young dandy. For the reptile, try Avalon, where the Bill Murray moment "More Than This" originated, then Manifesto; for the secret striver, your flawed best shot is probably the smooshed-together Early Years, which unlike Atlantic's good old Greatest Hits (although not Best of) counts "Love Is the Drug" outside its purview. In contrast, the Jesus and Mary Chain, whose "Just Like Honey" caps the film (and makes the S/T), ground down the same track to the bitter end, not to mention the bottom line. By including later titles the naive might mistake for Jan and Dean and Joan Jett covers, 21 Singles 1984-1998 does their tuneful murk as much justice as their formerly definitive debut. Not more, however.
Gmort, thanks for reminding me of the David Ware review and record, which as happens too often had completely passed from my mind, in part but not entirely because Ware is an an invisible recess of my shelves, though I pulled it for breakfast tomorrow and bet Carola loves it. Thanks also for reminding me of that Vermont getaway. Once I brought back the memory, it was sweet.
GMort (and Robert, and everyone), I hear you about the difficulties of watching our parents crawl back into the womb against their will. GMort, I was as shocked as you by the David Ware review. How many times have we read about dancing or getting under the sheets or getting drunk to music? Compare that to relating a record to assisted care for a parent. And yet that was the point for me—music doesn’t really matter unless it is all-purpose ****. What we listen to is not only pre-teen rock , or adolescent, not college rock, not thirtysomething. RnR is now part of the thread of all our lives, beginning to end. Neil Young will one day write a song about how hard it is to defecate. I’ve seen more people die than you have, I deserve to have a form of art that helps me understand my experience.
One other thing, much more personal. Go out the way you want to. I got a call on July 19, 1997, and drove 5 hours to Mobile Alabama to arrive literally at the same time that Hurricane Danny was coming ashore on the Alabama coast. My wife and I were driving the only car on I-10 coming into Mobile. It was the greatest rainfall ever recorded in a very wet area. We couldn’t get near to his house by car so we waded in waist-deep water to get to him. My grandfather, who lived almost the whole 20th century in Mobile, was a heroic man in ways that I can’t even begin to spell out to you. He was lucid up until his last minutes. My sister and I had the means to make him go out easy, but for better or worse we didn’t even try. My grandfather told me things in the last hour of his life, while a hurricane battered his house, that he could only have told me then. Screw the grandiose writers with their angst and hauteur because what my grandfather told me that night really <did> change the world, it wasn’t some offhand comment that disappeared into the ether. It was Drive-By Truckers honesty. And I hope my kids and grandkids are around me so I can share it with them when my time has come around. I hope the first Fairport record (American edition) is playing in the background, gently.
Christgau's "like the sheen on a piece of rotten meat" line in his 1972 review of Roxy Music's first album may have been the very first time that his analysis really jumped out at me. I hadn't heard the album yet and I already knew exactly what it sounded like. Or maybe even better, what it felt like to the listener to hear it. Never forgot that line either.
Actually, going back to the Roxy Music page on his website is a pretty darn fascinating learning experience even now.
EDIT: Sorry -- "as the sheen on a piece of rotten meat"
Xgau said something in one of his Roxy reviews (either Stranded or Country Life) about a lack of idealism. Which is, you know, something I can live with. He did like Manifesto more than most, though. I guess they push his anti-art rock and anti-Europe buttons too much for him to get as much out of their early stuff as many do.
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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