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some little reviews

Riders in the Sky – Public Cowboy #1: A Centennial Salute to the Music of Gene Autry (Rounder)

Cowboy song semi-spoofers Riders in the SKy recorded this tribute to the original singin’ cowboy for his 100th birthday in 1996 – this is a reissue. They tend to tread the same tricky line Mr. Autry (with all due respect) himself did– between country music and Hollywood cowboy schmaltz. Great choice of tunes, though the slick pop Western Swing production might scare off many KWUR DJs (naturally that’s my favorite part of the album). Think West Coast W. Swing on that account (Spade Cooley, et cetera).
I dig “The Last Roundup,” “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” others…

Hungrytown – s/t (Listen Here! Records)

Unremarkable earnest folk with country signifiers in the arrangements (fiddle, banjo, close, sharp harmonies). I would probably love this were it not for the bland, flat, unemotive vocals. As it is, this aspect overwhelms the pleasant pickin’, alright tunes. One or two solid numbers with thicker background vocals merit keeping it (and who knows it may be someone else’s bag).
I dig “On the Other Side”

Drakkar Sauna – Wars and Tornadoes: Drakkar Sauna Faithfully Sing the Songs of the Louvin Brothers (Marriage Records)

Lawrence, Kansas-based trad country duo extremely faithfully recreate these representative tunes from one of the all-time best country duos (one of the famous “brother duos,” along with the Delmore Bros). Their approximation of the harmonies is especially remarkable (Ira and Charlie were famous for their off-kilter harmonies and the late Ira possessed a glass-shattering high-lonesome tenor). All of these are wonderful renditions of some of the best tunes out there, so I couldn’t recommend them enough, at least until we get some of the originals here in the stacks. Check ‘em out! As for the Louvins, I recommend “A Tribute to the Delmore Brothers” and the infamous “Satan is Real.” Also, Charlie L is still alive and kicking so go see him while you still can (saw him last year for free at fucking Vintage Vinyl and it was honestly transcendant).
I dig ‘em all, especially “When I Stop Dreaming” (an old favorite)

Alejandro Escovedo – Real Animal (Blue Note)

Escovedo’s a veteran of 1st wave 70′s punk, 80′s-90′s alt.country/”cowpunk,” lots of other short-lived scenes… His acclaimed solo albums have been a nice mishmash of country/folk, tejano and hard rock. This album though (following his somber previous “The Boxing Mirror,” recorded when he thought he was gonna die from Hep C), is clearly a Straight Rock Album, full of anthemic, radio-friendly, arena rock. Don’t assume it’s brainless – Escovedo’s a literate and precise songwriter (these tunes are full of poetic images and shit, sure to set your heart a flutter). Basically I respect that this is unabashed pop music (as with all my, like, most favorite music), but I have a hard time wading through cocks-out stadium rock w/meaty choruses and big drums. ok.
I dig “Nuns Song,” “Real as an Animal,” “Hollywood Hills”

Jim White – Transnormal Skiperoo (Luaka Bop)

White has staked himself a nice little lyrical territory steeped in southern gothic, mythic mumbo jumbo. At times he veers into caricature, self-parody and pastiche, but he can also write some earnest, affecting tunes. This time around, he’s apparently digging some country gospel, classic R&b and droney swamp blues vibes. Too many bland, hookless “atmosphere” numbers (what is it with that shit these days?).
I dig “Turquoise House,” “Jailbird”

XOXO ZAK

PS Remember to listen to PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLYROLL ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL SUMMER EDITION WAHOO
every Sunday 8pm to 12am central time
also gabe’s PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLYROLL I’M A JELLYROLL MAN!
every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7pm to 8pm central time
also every other wonderful summer show
also the “autorotation”


One Response to “more newish releases”

  1. Tony Renner says:

    i just added 22 new jazz, blues, and folk cds to the stacks…

    good stuff…!

    of course, my reviews are nearly as extensive or elegant but i think they get the job done….

    – tony, “the scientific method,” thursdays 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

    PS: i added the kwur blog to my blogroll….

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