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Daav's Pocket Reviews Vol. 2
David Crosby If I Could Only Remember My Name
If you're having a pot party with friends this weekend this should do the trick. There are more hippies on this record than there were at Woodstock...including the audience! Jerry Garcia, Grace Slick, Neil Young, Jack Cassady, Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, David Frieberg, you name 'em. The whole congregation singing and playing to no discernable purpose other than to create an aural haze to drift with the smoke. And I always thought Eno was the first rock guy to mess with this sort of pop elevator music.
Ash Free All Angels
These youngsters deserve to go places. "World Domination"? We'll see. They're a really good punk/pop band with an odd bent for writing dense string-laden ballads. They've done fine across the water but are just catching on here. At first the lyrics seemed overwrought but they're just trying to find fresh angles from which to say things that have been said oh so many times before in love songs. The twin guitar blast of Tim Wheeler (who writes most of the group's material) and Charlotte Hatherley can grab you and really wring you out. The rockers have an intensity one usually only finds in bands in their youth ('65 Stones,'69 Stooges, '77 Clash). Don't get too aroused; there are a few clinkers here. "Submission" for one.
John Fogerty Blue Moon Swamp
John Fogerty's solo career runs exactly like Lou Reed's (except Uncle Lou is much more prolific). Every so often John (like Lou) puts out an album that's supposed to be the best thing he's done since Creedence (or the Velvets), the album that approaches 'Cosmo's Factory' (or 'The Velvet Underground and Nico') in mastery. But, after a few years everyone forgets all about it until the next claim to greatness comes along which in a few years is forgotten and so on. Lou may have actually done it at some point in the past. I don't know. I long ago quit checking every few albums. (I know the claim still gets made from time to time).
This is as close as Fogerty's ever come in my humble opinion. He's created a nice balance between sounding Creedence-like but also different, more countrified. What 'Mardi Gras' should have been and wasn't. Unfortunately there's no "Sweet Hitchhiker" on here ('Mardi Gras' ' one moment of greatness) but as an album 'Blue Moon Swamp' is much more consistent. Fogerty still has a deft touch combining music with words. "A Hundred and Ten In The Shade" makes you feel like it is. There is some of his razzle-dazzle fretwork on the album like I haven't heard from him for a long time too.
XTC Apple Venus Vol.1
I don't know. Here's another example of why cds being longer than lps is a mixed blessing. There are some wonderful songs on here but the lush, sighing production is so rich and fluffy I felt like I was trapped in a French pastry for an hour. Come on guys. You know you have to break up the goo with a rocker or bopper once in a while. Sooo...another example of ostentatious craftsmanship overriding common sense.
White Stripes Elephant
Jack and Meg crank it up even further than last time with their most recent go-round. The folk is buried deep in the garage rock. The garage
rock- or garage rock period, doesn't come much better than "Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine", with Jack yelping over a blistering riff that has all the elemental raw power of, well, "Raw Power", "Satisfaction", "Wild Thing", you name it. They still got the blues on the suggestive "Ball And Biscuit" and the folk music's still on the surface for the charming album-closer "It's True That We Love One Another". One of my favorite albums of the fresh young century.
Sonic Youth Murray Street
I don't know why everyone praises this so much. Desperate I guess. The band is way past youthful and they haven't been particularly sonic since 'Daydream Nation'.
Charlatans U.K. Songs From The Other Side
One of the more clever b-side compilation titles I've run across. There are some decent things here but I prefer their albums proper. The jury's still out on this group. I kind of like them for the mod vibe...but by the same token none of their stuff exactly jumps out at me. I always like 'Between 10th and 11th' the best when I do sit down to listen to them.
Jefferson Starship Window Of Heaven
Heh,heh! I always save the dinosaurs for last in these reviews don't I?
What according to some sources was supposed to be a glorious return to form turns out to be pretty damn disappointing. The Airplane knew that politically charged rock was about more than name-dropping and yelling cliched slogans and that's all that we've got here folks. They also knew that there was other stuff you could write about once in a while and that's what we ain't got here folks.
As incredible as it might seem Paul Kantner is, if anything, even more naive than he was 35 years ago, and what could be charming then sure as hell isn't now. He's sort of like bumping into that old stoner friend of yours from high school and discovering he's exactly like he was then. How embarrassing!
With Grace out of the lineup (except for a cameo on one song), Diana Mangano was quite a find. An amazing singer who sounds like a cross between the best parts of Signe Anderson and Grace Slick. She deserves better.
Marty Balin, still in pretty good voice, but still exploring his inner-lounge singer, has a couple of insipid love songs here along the lines of "Miracles".
Jack Cassady! Jack Cassady! Jack Cassady! My fave sixties bassist is back in the group after all these years! I'm sorry to say he fits right in. Expertly competent without a smattering of creativity. The whole concept of the bass as a lead instrument has utterly vanished. For all I could tell I could have been listening to the guy from Journey.
I mean come on! I really should have know better right? I had given up way, way back in the early seventies. I couldn't have really expected anything beyond cutout bin fodder could I? Hope springs eternal.