Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Street Date: 1/18/11


Gregg Allman's first solo release in 14 years is a winner. That it's been sitting in limbo for a few years, while Allman waited for and acquired a new liver, is another story. As he said in a recent New York Times article, it was knowing this record would be waiting for him at the other end of his recovery, that helped him through a very painful time. After one listen, I understand.

With T-Bone Burnett driving the ship, and help from Dr. John, Doyle Bramhall II, and the rhythm section that Burnett employed for the Grammy winning record by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Dennis Crouch and Jay Bellerose, Allman runs through an inspired collection of blues covers by such luminaries as Muddy Waters, Bobby Bland, Otis Rush and B.B King.

That info should not scare you away. This is not another lazy, blues cover affair. Gregg Allman's voice is powerful and convincing as ever, and as usual, T- Bone nails a sound that is fresh and soulful.


 "King Is Dead," from what I've read, sounds much different than The Decemberists prior releases. This has to be true, since I've never liked a note I heard from this band, and I love this record.  The Decemberists have left me cold in the past, so much so, I'm not sure I could have told you what the band sounded like before this new release.  Maybe it's the addition of Gillian Welch on 7 on the 10 tracks, but what we have here is a great little alt-country record, with simple production and strong melodies. Was I missing something?


I know I'm supposed to love The Jayhawks, but I don't. Actually, it wasn't until founder and songwriter Mark Olson left the band that I truly got into them. The first two releases after his departure, "Sound Of Lies" and "Smile" both had, in my opinion, stronger melodies and brighter arrangements. I think I may be alone in my thinking here, as the two prior releases, "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow The Green Grass" are considered the classics, and now get upgraded with new remastering and a whole lotta bonus tracks.

More info HERE

There is also a new live record from Pearl Jam out today, as well as new ones from Social Distortion, and of course, that master of mirth, James Blunt.

I thank you.


David Handelman said...


I have been a huge Decemberists fan for about three years -- they and Wilco are the only bands I make a point to see live because they're really about performance.

I understand finding them too orchestral or literary, (or nasal) but there are individual songs in various genres (dark murderous, fated romantic, etc) that you should be able to appreciate as a song fanatic. I can email you a sampler but I'm sure you can find them on the net.

Try these songs; "Valerie Plame" "Here I Dreamt I was an Architect" "Culling of the Fold" "Sons and Daughters" "The Infanta" (which Matt Weiner used on Mad Men despite it being a total anachronism) We Both Go Down Together" "The Sporting Life'

Meloy -- whose sister is the novelist Maile Meloy -- has also released EPs of Morrissey and Sam Cooke songs....and the NPR interview about this album says he's always been influenced by REM which makes some sense in retrospect.

Colbert is a huge fan and has had them on. But maybe we'll just agree to disagree.

Sal Nunziato said...

But David, tell me...if you've listened to the new one, is it not different in a big way from the earlier records?

I will go back.

Christine said...

I fell in love with "Days of Elaine" the first time I heard it.

steve simels said...

James Blunt.

Possibly the two most terrifying words in the English language. After Michael Bay.

jeff kisseloff said...

(and I write this with all due respect to my buddy David) My wife is a big Decembrists fan. I remember almost liking the first one, thought they could write a good song, even if it was a bit overblown. But with their subsequent releases, when I am forced at gunpoint to I put on a CD of their's I can't wait until it's over: all that pompous renaissance shit. Apparently, according to MOJO, the band felt the same way and dialed the new one way way back.

It's supposed to arrive today via Amazon. We'll see.

Sal Nunziato said...

Maybe THAT'S what I remember, the "pompous renaissance shit."

David Handelman said...

Well...I guess it depends where you are with an act. For instance I love Todd R's best but am not a catalogue fan. That's what makes it a ballgame.

Sal Nunziato said...

Hey, now leave Todd out of it.


Seriously though, does the new record sound less like The Decemberists that you've grown to appreciate?

I listened to both Valerie Plame, thanks to you, and Days Of Elaine, thakns to Christine, and I dig them both. But they do sound like a different band.

David Handelman said...

I haven't listened to the new album except for the excerpts on NPR -- been busy moving and doing work -- but yes, they have gone for something different. Will be interesting to see how they integrate it live; last tour, they played their entire concept album start to finish with the Brightest Diamond and Lavendar Diamond guest vocalists. Is Gillian touring with them?

I defy you not to tap your toe to this.


Sal Nunziato said...


cmealha said...

The Rake's Song
Never heard a thing by the Decemberists. I was really questioning the 'wow' at the beginning but then it really kicked into gear. I listened to a couple of the other tunes mentioned as well. Some promise there. Thanks to all for piquing my curiosity.