Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Street Date: 9/13/11


I recently picked up a copy of Nick's "Party Of One" release on vinyl. I don't think I ever owned this on vinyl. (Remember when we didn't have to say "on vinyl?") I was surprised to see, thanks to the nice big print on the 12" inner sleeve, that it was produced by Dave Edmunds, and pretty much featured the John Hiatt "Bring The Family" dream band. That's right. Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner, John Hiatt. Blah blah. I did not know that.

I also realized that "Party Of One" was the true beginning of the Nick Lowe transformation, and not 1994's "The Impossible Bird," like so many, including yours truly, have been thinking.  "Party Of One" is a bit of a lost classic. It is a near-perfect collection, mixing up the young and restless Nick Lowe with the older/wiser/mellowed Nick Lowe. This is a record where you will find Nick "shting-shtanging," as well as wondering "What's Shakin' On The Hill." "Party Of One" was the sign of things to come.

Today, Nick Lowe releases "The Old Magic," another in a series of absolutely resplendent records, starting with the aforementioned "Party Of One," and continuing on with "The Convincer," "At My Age," and "Dig My Mood," where the rock and roll legend delivers some of the most personal and heartbreaking songs of his career.

I know some will pass on the less is more, melancholy Nick, still holding on to the days of "So It Goes" and "Cruel To Be Kind." (I've always wondered why the artist can age gracefully but the fan cannot.) But songs like "Stoplight Roses," "I Read A Lot," and "Checkout Time" come out of the box as standards. These are songs so perfectly constructed and at times, so brutally honest, you may feel uncomfortable enjoying someone's confession as much as you do. It is still worth your time.

Buy "The Old Magic." Please!

It's below-


The pages of Burning Wood have offered their share of Clapton bashing. But it's tough love. Know what I'm saying? I just want the guy to reach his potential. Well, as many of you agreed on earlier posts, "God" works better when he's not leading the way, and this record proves it.

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind about what Wynton Marsalis can do with traditional jazz and blues. The surprise is, how he allows Eric Clapton to let loose. The tone is there. The feel, the soul and the chops. All there! I love this record.  Eric Clapton is on fire.

If you thought like I did, that the 1992, MTV Unplugged version of "Layla" was a musical crime against humanity, here is the absolution. If you don't like New Orleans jazz, leave now. But this pairing of Eric and Wynton does not disappoint.

Get it...


Talk about tough love.

Here's what I think happened. Do not quote me, as I am seeing this man perform tonight, and his fans are a relentless bunch. I'd like to make it home bruiseless.

There was a band camp. And people came. And it was supposed to be good.

Songs originally produced by Todd Rundgren, now reimagined with the help of fans from all over the world.

Apparently, things didn't go so well.  No one who showed and paid for camp, brought chops good enough to lay down on tape...I think.


The final product is a collection of covers--Meat Loaf, Badfinger, XTC, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, etc.--all programmed as electronica, I'm speculating, by one man who came to the rescue.  If I'm wrong, someone please tell me, because I don't believe what I'm hearing.

Who is this for? Certainly not Todd fans. And all the money in the world could not convince me that this is what our fearless leader wanted to release. (But of course, I could be so, so wrong.)

So...do it for the money? Yes! He is allowed. He is a fucking genius. A rock and roll legend. "Open My Eyes." "I Saw The Light." "Just One Victory." That stuff!! He has paid his dues many times over.


"(re) PRODUCTION" is unlistenable. Simple. Not because it's not "Something/Anything." But because it's just misguided, and sounds tossed together out of desperation.

Todd Rundgren's recent tours have been stellar. He is currently experiencing a renaissance as a guitar player. His voice can still break hearts. But my man needs to get the mojo back.

In the meantime...


The first song on Laura Marling's third release sounded less like the Sandy Denny inspired British folk I had come to love and expect, and more like the Fiona Apple-ish, Lilith Fair drama I've come to loathe. But...that was just the first song.

The reviews have all called "A Creature I Don't Know," Marling's best yet, and I can't argue that. Slowly but surely, the record builds, adding electric guitar and layers not found (and not needed) on her two previous releases.

Laura Marling has chops that seem unthinkable at her age, an annoying 21 years old. But, this is a beautiful record. Give it some love.

Over here...



I'd like to say more about the Pajama Club, the new project from one of my faves Neil Finn, and his wife Yoko....uh...Sharon, but I've yet to hear anything but the single, which left me cold. I'm too much of a fan to let this die, so stay tuned. The vinyl shipped yesterday.

BUY IT....



I love Alice and I loved "Welcome To My Nightmare," but this "sequel" is sad. It tries too hard. Guest appearances by Steve Hunter, Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith only add to the frustration. BUT....the single, "I'll Bite Your Face Off," is a killer piece of FM radio, circa 1979. If only the whole record was this good.

BUY IT....



(check out my Huffington Post review HERE)

(Worst song ever, "Need You Now," not included.)


And finally....


I can't say enough about the talent that comes out of the great city of New Orleans. I saw Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews play his horn at the Louisiana Music Factory when he was just a little taller than me  ;)

We also shared a terrace for a week or two on the corner of Royal and St. Phillip.

Since then, he has played with the likes of Willie Nelson, Lenny Kravitz, and Jeff Beck for starters, was nominated for a Grammy, and has made his city proud.

Check out the new record...

"For True" has some special guests on it, as if that's a surprise. Kid Rock, Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz, Lamont Dozier and Warren Haynes to name but a few.



Gene Oberto said...

OK, the Todd and Nick revues came as expected. You had hinted as much in the weeks leading up to their release. Many thanks for the (re)Todd warning!

However, I was salivating for the scathing review of the Superheavy (?) release.

If ever there was a mistake made on a cocktail napkin...the video was excruciating.

Sal Nunziato said...

Oops. I didn't realize Superheavy was out this week. (I'm also afraid to listen.)

Shriner said...

The problem with Welcome 2 My Nightmare -- is that it never should have been billed as a "sequel".

if the album had some other name entirely, but was just solicited as a new Alice Cooper album (produced by Bob Ezrin!) featuring a lot of old school Alice players (including my fave - Dick Wagner) -- you might look at it differently. Well, except for "Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever", I guess...

Ending with "The Underture" -- which just is chockful of musical callbacks to WTMN at the very end of the disk -- doesn't help the whole thing.

I'm a big Alice fan -- W2MN is much, much better than Along Came A Spider. But maybe not as good as The Eyes of Alice Cooper and Dirty Diamonds (which I thought was a better call-back to his mid-70s output, frankly...)

Anonymous said...

As a long time lurker I find myself agreeing with you most of the time, but I beg to differ on your Todd review.
I happen to love this bonkers little throwaway thing of a record. I'm sure the Nick album is great also (haven't got it yet), but I'm a bit concerned that nearly all the old heroes seem to go the T-Bone Burnett / Rick Rubin way and make me think there's nowhere else to go but get old gracefully. For example I hate what T-Bone (a wonderful singer-songwriter) has done to the last 2 Costello albums (though Elvis probably wanted it this way).
Sure, as usual Todd's totally out of his tree and it's not a serious record at all, but I find it hugely entertaining in a hilarious "with-a-twist" kind of way (didn't care too much for the Johnson thing except for the funny use of a drum machine in a blues context btw).
I'm gonna tire of it eventually, but there'll be another totally different one around the corner and it will be as unexpected again (in 2 weeks he'll be near my home in Amsterdam doing an orchestral thing). And there surely will be time for a more serious album, but at the moment I'm liking it a lot.
Go ahead, ignore me.
Oh, and keep up the good work, thanks, Heines.

jeff k said...

listening to lowe now and loving it. I have to admit I'm always a little hesitant with him every since "Shelly my Love," which makes me want to retch every time I hear it. No matter how good the rest of his albums are, I'm always afraid another one of those is just around the corner, but, yup, the new one is great.

Sal Nunziato said...


I guess my issue with Todd is that I just don't find his "little throwaways" entertaining. It's just more time to wait for something I'd rather listen to. I never thought "With A Twist" as a throwaway. I wasn't excited by the idea at first, but I love it now, and it at least feels like there was some heart out into it.

re: the drum-machine on TRJ, again, I didn't find it "funny" as you did. I feel it ruined what could have been at least a listenable showcase for his guitar playing.

That said, I love the man.

Thanks for the comment.

Sal Nunziato said...

@ Jeff K

What's wrong with Shelley My Love? Wow. I love that song.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sal,
no problem, "fun" is always going to be very subjective.
I just thought the new one is very much in line with what Todd likes to do and I think there's at least some heart and soul in it (the Badfinger song or Is it a star). But judging by what's said in some of the forums and blogs, even the fans are devided on this one (doesn't that make a great artist?).
Anyway, have fun tonight, I'm sure, Todd will deliver (though i heard he's got a bad cold).
P. S. I got "Party of one" on vinyl too and would be rather seen dead than listening to Superheavy.

cmealha said...

I've been anticipating the Nick Lowe album since I first heard the love versions of "Stoplight Roses" and "I Read A Lot". Both beautifully aching tunes. This will keep the musical high, started by Glen Campbell, going.

cmealha said...

Jeff K, "Shelly My Love" is such a beautiful song! I understand not being a fan of some of Nick's other 'mature' music but this one's a gem.

Meanstreets said...

Let me point out two new releases which were overlooked by the author...

Ray Bonneville's " Bad Man's Blood " with Gurf Morlix

Dark River: Songs from the Civil War Era ( Various )
featuring TX singer / songwriters..

FD13NYC said...

Also a good version of Shelley Nick did was with Daryl Hall on LFDH.

And the Trombone Shorty is really kickin!

Jeff Matthews said...

Todd's is so jaw-droppingly bad I don't know what to say - have been a huge fan since 1972 and can't remember such a misguided move by any artist that I've respected.

Kevin said...

Stream the Gourds here:
Like Trombone Shorty on Facebook and stream his album there.
Both as of Tues. afternoon)
First tune on TBS and I'm hooked.
Gourds sound really good, too. That one would have slipped by me if not for BW. Thanks!

Anything Should Happen said...

As per usual, I'm with Sal most of the way.

Nick Lowe's excellence continues and if he comes your way, do not hesitate to go and see him, his gigs for the past four years have been truly wonderful, heartfelt with an atmosphere that's hard to beat, so quiet yet so enthralling.

Todd's effort, well I was warned by Sal and he is absolutely right in his opinion and his reasoning.
I had to try it as I do with every good and bad direction and it just doesn't work, truly truly awful.

Laura Marling, I'm loving it, but I'm not sure if it's better than the first two. Again get out and see her if she comes to BurningWoodFollowerTown.

Nothing and I mean nothing will make me listen to anything by Eric Clapton.

Should I give him another go, well I've listened to such rubbish whilst trying for the past 30 years that I am not wasting any more money.

I have however made a very nice dog kennel out of his cased cd's from these last three decades and I'm quite pleased with the result.

I'm sure I could have bought one cheaper, but it doubles as a handy scarecrow.

He could become sidekick for Andy Partridge or The Mael Brothers and I might be tempted, but as that is never gonna happen, my ears can listen to something more worthy.

Alice Cooper - Great single, bad album, don't see the point of it.

I have listened to Superheavy, out of loyalty to Dave Stewart.

Be Afraid, be very afraid.

elizabeth said...

Sal, I envy you the terrace-sharing week with Trombone Shorty! Listening to the live webcast last night - which I couldn't seem to walk away from despite lousy computer speakers and the fact I was very tired - I could hear elements of James Brown and Prince, but not an imitation. That great funk beat you just don't want to end, topped with Shorty's trombone and songs that are fresh. Although he's gathering a bit of a reputation, he deserves to be much more well known.

Almost by accident, we went to the film of the Marsalis & Clapton concert last week. All stellar pieces, but you are so right about the rendition of Layla. Haunting.

Looking forward to the Nick Lowe. This week may be hard on the budget! But how often are there so many good releases?

Anonymous said...


A wee NL treat.