Tuesday, September 13, 2011
If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Street Date: 9/13/11
NICK LOWE- THE OLD MAGIC
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!
WYNTON MARSALIS & ERIC CLAPTON- PLAY THE BLUES
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.
TODD RUNDGREN- (re)PRODUCTION
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...
LAURA MARLING- A CREATURE I DON'T KNOW
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.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
PAJAMA CLUB- PAJAMA CLUB
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.
ALICE COOPER- WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE
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.
NEW RECORDS FROM...
(check out my Huffington Post review HERE)
(Worst song ever, "Need You Now," not included.)
BLONDIE- PANIC OF GIRLS
TROMBONE SHORTY- FOR TRUE
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.