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ROSANNE CASH 

“THE LIST” 

($18.98, Manhattan Records) Rosanne Cash, The List

www.rosannecash.com

 

At 18, Rosanne Cash received a list from her father of the 100 most important country songs he felt his daughter, who was the President of her local Beatles Fan Club, needed to know. Four decades later, setting aside her long-held stance to never ride her father’s coattails, Johnny Cash’s first-born recorded a dozen songs from that list. With a simple guitar/bass/drum set up, Cash doesn’t take unnecessary leaps and simply sings. Songs like “Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow” and “Take These Chains From My Heart” are delivered with clarity and strength. She should be applauded for her cover of Patsy Cline’s classic “She’s Got You” for just thinking about taking on such a behemoth…which Cash does with subdued beauty. Guests on “The List” have minor roles as back up singers and include, among others, Bruce Springsteen on “Sea of Heartbreak” and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on “Long Black Veil”. The bonus track “Satisfied Mind”, featuring harmonies from Neko Case, is available at iTunes. The only disappointment is not knowing what the 88 remaining songs Johnny Cash wrote down are. More Carter Family and Bob Dylan tunes? Perhaps some of Johnny’s? We’ll get the answer someday as there are plans for Cash to record a sequel.

 

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, THE FINE PRINT (A COLLECTION OF ODDITIES AND RARITIES 2003 – 2008)

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS 

“THE FINE PRINT (A COLLECTION OF ODDITIES AND RARITIES 2003 – 2008)” 

($17.98, New West Records) 

www.drivebytruckers.com

 

Any band who titles a song “George Jones Talkin’ Cell Phone Blues” is just plain awesome! Drive-By Truckers started out 13 years ago in Athens, Georgia playing their lively brand of southern rock led by a “three axe attack”…that’s three guitars, bass and drums. The band’s audible assault works well, thanks to the singable nature of their tunes and their democratic sharing of vocal duties. The scratchy, warmth of Patterson Hood on “George Jones…”, Mike Cooley’s tough guy muscle on “Uncle Frank” and Jason Isbell’s road-weariness on “TVA” give Drive-By Truckers a multi-faceted sound that brings depths to a genre that could easily be a one-note stereotype. One of the “oddities” in this collection has to be “Little Pony and The Great Big Horse”, a child-like song whose origins lie in a dirty joke. (Joke included in the liner notes). Among the rarities are four impressive covers. Tom Petty’s “Rebels” (originally recorded for FOX’s “King of The Hill”), Tom T. Hall’s “Mama Bake A Pie (Daddy Killed A Chicken)”, Warren Zevon’s “Play It All Night Lone” and Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” where everyone gets a chance at the mic, including bassist Shonna Tucker, marking her first ever vocal solo.

 

YO LA TENGO 

“POPULAR SONGS” 

($14.98, Matador Records) YO LA TENGO, POPULAR SONGS

www.yolatengo.com

 

“The Fireside”, the eleventh track on Yo La Tengo’s latest, is the kind of music one would use to best describe what a dream probably sounds like. Lush and hypnotic. Wavy and far-off. About half of “Popular Songs” echoes what is, in large part, the band’s signature, experimental sound. A sound that could settle a weary soul to sleep. Drummer Georgia Hubley sings with a haunting loveliness on “By Two’s” and a poetic sweetness on “When It’s Dark”, setting the stage for more of Yo La Tengo’s 60s pop on the swinging “Periodically Triple or Double”, the carnival ride-like, rollicking “Nothing To Hide” and the girl/boy back and forth on the sweet “If It’s True”. On the flipside, Yo La Tengo does noise leaps and bounds better than most, combining sheer mayhem with a smart, underlying melody. The final cut, “And The Glitter Is Gone”, showcases fuzzy feedback, crashing cymbals and gnarled guitar work, while “Here To Fall” slips in symphonic strings around Ira Kaplan’s subdued vocals.

 

Yo La Tengo is the rare band that, after twenty-five years together, consistently entertains, delights, satisfies, and just plain matters when it comes down to why art, music in particular, is so essential. 

 

OUR NOISE: THE STORY OF MERGE RECORDS – THE INDIE LABEL THAT GOT BIG AND STAYED SMALL, by John Cook with Mac McCaughan & Laura Balance

“OUR NOISE: THE STORY OF MERGE RECORDS –
THE INDIE LABEL THAT GOT BIG AND
STAYED SMALL” 

by John Cook with Mac McCaughan & Laura Balance 

($18.95, Algonquin Paperbacks) 

 www.mergerecords.com

 

Twenty years ago, Mac McCaughan, a music-obsessed Columbia University student, and Laura Balance, a UNC freshman and Mac’s goth girlfriend, launched Merge Records to get the music they and their friends made in their tight knit community of Chapel Hill down on record. Launched with big ambitions, Merge’s first release was a box set of 7” records by five, completely unknown local bands like Angels of Epistemology, Wwax and Slushpuppies. This “let’s try it, why not?” ethic, plus Mac and Laura’s inviting Southern natures, added up to Merge’s lasting success, industry respect and stellar roster of music from American Music Club, Camera Obscura, Spoon, She & Him and Superchunk, Mac and Laura’s own band. “Our Noise” is a fascinating, comprehensive oral history of Merge with contributions from almost everyone they’ve ever crossed paths with. Filled with tons of photos, xeroxed show flyers, and well-kept business invoices and correspondence, this almost 300-page historic trip back to the late 80s is a must-read about when college kids flopped in communal housing, cheap beer flowed seemingly without end, and novice musicians picked up instruments to make a whole lot of noise that was real, immediate and their own.

 

MORE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

“THE BEST IS YET TO COME – 

THE SONGS OF CY COLEMAN” THE BEST IS YET TO COME – THE SONGS OF CY COLEMAN, CY COLEMAN

($17.98, New West Records) 

www.cycoleman.com

 

The ladies take to the mic for a melancholy tribute to Cy Coleman, America’s most prolific pop, jazz and show tune songwriter of the 20th century. Fiona Apple, Patty Griffin, Jill Sobule, Sam Philips and Nikka Costa are among those taking on Coleman’s catalog. The opener, “The Best Is Yet To Come”, by Griffin is a sparse, brooding number while Apple’s “Why Try To Change Me Now” and “I Walk A Little Faster” exude a lovely, controlled sophistication Coleman would certainly applaud. If you’re a fan of old school, piano torch song entertainment, this disc is for you.

 

BIG STAR 

“KEEP AN EYE ON THE SKY” Big Star, Keep an Eye on the Sky

($69.98, Rhino) 

www.bigstarband.com

 

Finally! Almost 100 tracks from Big Star, the American band that inspired countless musicians and personified the free-wheelin’ rock of the 1970s, have at last been packed in to a single box set. “Keep An Eye On The Sky” features Big Star’s anthemic songs, “In The Street” and “When My Baby’s Beside Me”, and the purest, most perfect ode to young love, “Thirteen”. Songs from 1968 to 1975 include acoustic unreleased demos, alternative versions, pre-Big Star tracks from Chris Bell and Alex Chilton and a live concert in their hometown of Memphis from 1973. What a thrill to revisit these beautiful, exhilarating songs!

 

MONSTERS OF FOLK 

“MONSTERS OF FOLK” 

($18.98, Shangri-La) Monster Folk

www.monstersoffolk.com

 

The newest music supergroup combines the indie forces of four fine gentlemen musicians. Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, M. Ward and producer Mike Mogis combine their guitars and voices to reinvent the sounds of 70s folk rock. Each brings to the table what they do best and is given freedom to shine. Jim James’ penchant for ethereal country-rock is transformed to old time Nashville on “The Right Places” and “Goodway”. Conor Oberst’s folk outlaw steps up on “Map Of The World” and “Man Named Truth”.  “Say Please” combines all four voices into 21st century Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. 

 

GREG LASWELL 

“COVERS” EP 

($6.45, Vanguard) 

www.greglaswell.comGreg Laswell, Covers, EP

 

Singer-songwriter Greg Laswell’s songs are best described as “Grey’s Anatomy” worthy…sensitive, heartrending, and, fittingly, have been featured on the actual show. With his “Covers” EP, Laswell takes on the works of five other songwriters who share his emotional bent. He mines the ladies catalog with Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”, Mazzy Star’s “Take Everything” and the hauntingly beautiful “Your Ghost” by Throwing Muses’ Kristin Hersh. Choosing such atypical songs shows Laswell’s appreciation for and knowledge of exceptional work and his ease and naturalness with them pays off. Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Killing Moon” and Morphine’s “In Spite of Me” round out the EP. 

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 102 - September 4493
Turnpage Blk


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