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  Listen Up! 2/20/04 Listen Up!

Friday, Feb. 20

The Rolling Stones, ďGot Live If You Want It!Ē Abkco Records. I always dismissed this early live Stones album, mostly on account of I couldnít take the screaming girls. Now, I donít think Iíve listened to it in over 20 years, so I donít really know for sure if this 2002 reissue cleans up the music at the expense of the screams, or if I just overestimated the memory of all those girls going crazy. Either way, you can hear plenty, and you get this amazing document of the Stones at the earliest stages of their world domination, when they were still innocent enough to think this might not last. In other words, they sound so young and excited by it all. There are almost as many covers as Jagger/Richards originals in this set, and Iím most amazed by the tenderness with which Jagger sings Otis Reddingís then recent ďIíve Been Loving You Too Long.Ē Itís amazing because he was still too young to begin to understand the sentiment of the song, and yet he convinces us that even for a guy who was becoming used to sex being as available as chewing gum, it was still possible to be hurt. Yep, itís also amazing because itís coming from the same guy who opens the set (or at least the album) with the ultra misogynist ďUnder My Thumb.Ē These performances are raw and exhilarating, and Iím sorry itís taken me so damn long to realize this.

Terry Allen, ďJuarez,Ē Sugar Hill Records. We go back to 1976, and the debut album of the worldís only performance artist/sculpter/Texas singer/songwriter. This is being reissued by Sugar Hill in the very near future, but Iím not sure of the date. Dave Alvinís liner notes rank this album with Bob Dylanís ďBlood on the TracksĒ and Randy Newmanís ďGood Old Boys,Ē which is some pretty good company to keep, even if I think heís exaggerating. Of course, Iím at work, so I canít pay attention to the lyrics, which is a pretty big part of Allenís work. I suspect thatís where the comparisons become more apt. At any rate, the music is pleasant enough on its own, albeit rather sparsely laid out. Allenís vocals arenít pretty, but theyíre familiar enough to me by now that I canít complain about them. He carries his tunes, which is more than you can say for a lot of people. His piano playing is always a lot stiffer rhythmically than Iíd like, but again, familiarity at this point renders this criticism moot. There are some occasional acoustic guitar accompaniments which add some interest to the bare bones of these songs. As I understand it, the album is pretty much a connected piece, telling the tale of a couple of people taking a trip. That would explain the occasional spoken word interjections which are a bit jarring when youíre not paying attention. Iím gonna take this album home and pay closer attention to it one of these days.

Dizzee Rascal, ďBoy In Da Corner,Ē Matador Records. After a few casual listens around the store, I no longer feel exactly nervous when all these jittery hyper-speed rhythms start spinning. Iím still more of an admirer of Rascalís skills than an enjoyer of them. The guy is pulling off some fairly complicated raps against some even more complicated beats. A couple of the hooks are starting to sink into me, especially ďJus A Rascal,Ē but Iím not sure if Iíll ever become a fan.

--Steve Pick

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