This is i like you – they’ll be performing here at Hymie’s on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. We like their music a lot, and also their name. It reminded us of a song from Donovan’s Cosmic Wheels…
“I like You” by Donovan
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This is i like you – they’ll be performing here at Hymie’s on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. We like their music a lot, and also their name. It reminded us of a song from Donovan’s Cosmic Wheels…
“I like You” by Donovan
Somebody finally bought this bizarre single that’s been in the counter for the last year or so. We posted it here on the blog a while ago …
We loved this guy…
…whoever he is.
And the funny thing is that the guys who bought the weird Japanese single were in a weird Japanese band. None of them spoke English. They all laughed with they saw this single, but nobody told us who it is!
Here’s the guys who bought the single. Acid Mother Temple.
Corpse Reviver is a trio of great local musicians – Adam Kiesling, Mikkel Beckmen and Jillian Rae – and they didn’t get their name from your grandad’s super gross cognac-heavy hangover cure. And they’re not a metal band either, although Corpse Reviver would be a freakin’ sweet name for a metal band. They’ve taken on that name because their sets are derived from the 112 songs on the four volumes of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music.
Of course, the name suggests the music on Smith’s legendary collection of 78s from the 1920s (primarily) through the early 1940s is dead and forgotten. This was surely the case when the first three volumes were issued by Folkways Records in 1952, but less so today – American roots music is enjoying a healthy renaissance in recent years, and the Twin Cities has been more than welcoming to the trend. Many songs from the period, on and off the Anthology, have been adopted by local artists, and as Corpse Reviver proves, they have a robust relevance still today.
So this awesome trio with ties to so many other other local favorites of ours – including Steve Kaul’s Brass Kings, Pert Near Sandstone, Charlie Parr, the Brian Just Band and the Blackberry Brandy Boys, to name a few – has been folk, blues and country tunes off the Anthology for a while now, and just finished recording an album at Underwood Studio this spring.
They played a set at Trampled by Turtles’ anniversary extravaganza at First Avenue a couple weeks ago, and brought with them a limited, numbered edition (of only twenty-five!) of their not-yet released album, Volume 1: I’ll be Rested When the Roll is Called. You can hear the entire record on their bandcamp page here or by using the handy player below. They are planning a full release of the album for this summer, or perhaps the fall if they decide to press LPs (yes, contact ‘em through that Bandcamp page and tell ‘em you’d buy an album!).
Mikkel Beckmen was kind enough to bring a couple copies of the disc to the shop, where it has taken up a residency in our CD player. We thought a fun way to introduce the album would be to present it above, and then collect the ten original recordings from the Folkways compilations below.
What is the Anthology of American Folk Music?
The Anthology of American Folk Music is a 1952 compilation album (actually a series of three double LP sets) culled from an incredible stash of shellac collected by Harry Smith. The eighty-four songs split over its six records had been commercially released on 78 rpm discs between 1927 and 1932, but were for all intents lost to the listeners even just two decades later. The range was chosen because it captures music created between the dawn of electronic recording and the substantial dip in country, folk and blues recordings that is caused by the Depression.
Smith is variously described as a Bohemian, an experimental filmmaker, an ethno-musicologist, and an eccentric (and he was all of these things), but his great contribution to the ages was as the coolest record nerd of his generation. Smith amassed blues, folk and country 78s at a time when they were considered worthless relics. Fortunately Folkways founder Moses Asche shared his feeling, and the label issued what is essentially the first and most awesome mixtape anybody ever made. The three sets were originally issued with identical covers – a sixteenth century engraving by Theodore de Bry – but have also appeared with other covers and packaging. Our own collection is on CD and has long since lost it’s original packaging, so all that is left is a series of plain-looking double disc sets.
Original lps are fairly rare these days but the liner notes alone are worth the price of admission – Smith cut and pasted together his elaborate, idiosyncratic notes in a manner equal parts post-modern art and high school fanzine. His synopses for each track are thorough, insightful and witty. In all our years of collecting records we’ve found few examples of better, more compelling liner notes than Smith’s.
The Anthology is credited as the single strongest catalyst of the folk revival that began in the early 60s, making its release a watershed moment in the history of traditional American music. Many musicians who had long ago laid aside their guitars and banjos were re-discovered by enthusiasts after their recordings were heard on the Anthology, most famously Mississippi John Hurt, who’s 1928 recording of “Frankie” was included. Collectors found a 78 of his recording of “Avalon” shortly thereafter, and using its lyric “Avalon, my home town” tracked Hurt down, then give or take seventy years old, near Avalon, Mississippi. He recorded and toured for the remaining three years of his life.
Many musicians were inspired to launch their folk and blues careers by the music on the Anthology, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Dave van Ronk and others from the Greenwich Village folk scene in the early 60s. The music enjoyed an additional revival in the 90s when alt-country bands began to cover the songs – and others from the same time period. One of our favorite bands from that time is Uncle Tupelo, whose recording of “No Depression” by the Carter Family, led that song title to become a sort-lived buzzword for their genre and a healthy antidote to the woeful doom n’ gloom of grunge rock.
A fourth volume of the Anthology was created in collaboration with the Harry Smith Archive in 2000, nine years after his death. It included music from a later period (records from as late as 1940) but followed the original collections’ unique system of organization. Each volume had a distinct theme – the first three were Ballads, Social Music and Songs (usually about everyday subjects). Volume 4 took the theme Labor Songs. It also followed Smith’s correlation of each volume with a classic alchemical element – water, air, fire and earth (volume 4 correlating to earth). Many songs on the fourth volume had already become revived favorites, and others have since. Volume 4 is currently out of print, which is sort of ironic when you think about it.
Corpse Reviver Volume 1: I’ll be Rested When the Roll is Called
For your listening pleasure we have sequenced the ten songs selected by Corpse Reviver in their original form below. The intention isn’t to compare them, but to provide a context and for those unfamiliar with the Anthology of American Folk Music an introduction.
Corpse Reviver have created exciting and new interpretations of each. Adam Kiesling and Jillian Rae perform the topical songs from the fourth volume with humor and warmth, and the ballads are approached with characteristic drive and fervor. Kiesling’s playing throughout is subtle and evocative, just as it had been on his solo album, Unclouded Day, one of our picks for the top 10 albums of 2012. Jillian Rae steals the show in several numbers, including compelling solos in “John Johanna” and “East Virginia.” Our favorite track on the album is “Wagoner’s Lad” in which Kiesling’s clean and sparse banjo picking is matched by Rae’s rich and soulful voice, a perfect combination made all the better by Mikkel Beckmen’s hypnotic rhythm.
Beckmen originally conceived the project, and in tracks like “Wagoner’s Lad” his contribution is quiet but essential. At times his percussion sounds almost like a drum machine, having been expertly recorded and mixed by engineer Mark Stockert. At other times Beckmen strums and picks his washboard with the energy we’ve come to expect from his work with Steve Kaul’s Brass Kings and Charlie Parr. Throughout, I’ll be Rested When the Roll is Called, is one of the most enjoyable percussive albums we’ve heard in a long time.
These original recordings are from our CDs and LPs of the Anthology of American Folk Music. Most are from 1928 to 1932, but a few were recorded a little later. Several may be familiar to you, or contain lines or melodies you recognize from other sources. We hope you enjoy them, as well as the new recordings by Corpse Reviver.
“How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” by Blind Alfred Reed
“Old Shoes and Leggins” by Uncle Eck Dunford
“The Wagoner’s Lad” by Buell Kazee
“My Name is John Johanna” by Kelly Harrell
“Drunkard’s Special” by Coley Jones
“No Depression in Heaven” by the Carter Family
“Country Blues” by Dock Boggs
“East Virginia” by Buell Kazee
“Down on Penny’s Farm” by The Bently Boys
“I’ll be Rested when the Roll is Called” by Blind Roosevelt Graves and Brother
There are people who collect only Beatle records — to us, with our varied taste, listening to the same 275 songs over and over again seems boring, but to other people another copy of Rubber Soul or Revolver is a treasure. There’s a guy in New York who has an entire record shop filled with nothing but the “White Album” (here‘s a link to a story about him which one of our customers told us about). We’re guilty of hoarding a single album (have you seen our gigantic In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida collection in the shop?) so we shouldn’t be critical, besides what really matters is that collecting and listening to records should be fun.
While the Beatles are undeniably the most important rock and roll band of all time, fans oftentimes exaggerate their role in pop culture history, attributing to them innovations and creations that simply weren’t theirs. They may have popularized “Beatle boots” but the picture inside Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band did not inspire a mustache trend. The Beatles created the “hidden” track with the mysterious, originally uncredited coda on Abbey Road, but they did not create the concept album or the double album.Our personal collection includes all of the Beatle albums and a number of solo albums – Even George’s Electronic Sounds and Ringo’s Sentimental Journey – Laura’s favorite Beatle is John, Dave’s is George. We like the Beatles just fine, we just think there are some things fans like to say about them that just aren’t true. Here are eight enduring Beatle myths:
No. 1 – The Beatles saved popular music from the post-Elvis doldrums
One of the most pervasive elements of Beatles mythology is that they saved rock and roll from its early 60s malaise. Elvis had returned from Germany but had gone into the movies (and wouldn’t make another awesome record until after the “comeback” special in 1968). Buddy Holly had died and Little Richard struggled to leave rock and soul, as he called it, behind for a life in the ministry. The Beatles exploded out of radios in 1963, saving America from their woeful rock and roll doldrums.
This narrative overlooks a whole variety of great records, and a period in the history of American pop music that gave rise to some inspired and diverse music. For instance:
Surf music. Not only the Beach Boys’ first two albums, Surfin Safari and Surfin USA but the birth of instrument
al surf music, a genre that produces some of the funnest pop records of all time. Some great pre-Beatles surf records:
“Pipeline” by the Chantays (1962)
and of course
“Rumble” by Dick Dale (1958)
A rare rock and roll instrumental banned from the airwaves. The dawning of the power chord, and one of the most singularly explosive singles to ever come out of an RCA portable.
And then there’s rockabilly, which was still going strong in ’63. The Beatles loved this stuff. Click here for a look at the rockabilly Beatles. In England kids like this were Teddy Boys. Their heroes were guys like Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly.
A lot of these guys were still recording in the early 60s, and even getting into things that pushed the boundaries of their genre and suggested a different direction for rock and roll.
“All I Can Do is Cry” by Wayne Walker
Many rockabilly artists turned to country and western, which experienced a golden age with a variety of great artists at their best. In fact, the late 50s and early 60s were a period of immense creative diversity in American popular music. The year before Beatlemania began alone saw the release of: Ray Charles’ genre-melding Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Dick Dale’s Surfer’s Choice and a debut album by a promising young folk singer named Bob Dylan. Also released in 1962 were John Coltrane’s first recording with what would come to be called the “classic quartet” (Live at the Village Vanguard) and Ravi Shankar’s collaboration with American jazz musicians Bud Shank and Gary Peacock (Improvisation). The top selling album of the year was the soundtrack to West Side Story.
It was probably a good thing that people were buying all different kinds of records in the early 60s. Maybe some of these diverse interests would have endured if rock and roll wouldn’t have driven them down the charts.
No. 2 – The Beatles introduced the double LP
Sorry folks, the first double LP just wasn’t the “White Album” – It was Benny Goodman’s Live at Carnegie Hall, released in 1950. The format allowed home listeners to enjoy extended jams, in particular the famous performance of “Sing, Sing, Sing” which culminates with Jess Stacy’s intricate piano solo. The original masters (made from aluminum) of the 1938 recording were discovered sixty years later and reissued – making Benny Goodman’s Live at Carnegie Hall a top-seller all over again.
The first double LP of new, studio recordings was Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. Another pre-Beatles double album was Freak Out by the Mothers of Invention.
No. 3 – The Beatles “discovered” feedback- Avant garde composer Robert Ashley explored the use of feedback in his 1964 composition The Wolfman but nobody can seriously claim to be a Robert Ashley fan. How about we give credit to Albert Collins, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and most of all to Guitar Slim?
While we’re at it, let’s credit Nashville session guitarist Grady Martin for introducing the “fuzz effect” on a 1961 Marty Robbins single:
No. 4 – The Beatles introduced the Moog synthesizer to pop music
“Stranger in a Strange Land” from Leon Russell and the Shelter People predated the Beatles’ use of the Moog on Abbey Road. No doubt the fab four introduced the instrument to a wider audience with those four Abbey Road tracks, but they were beat to it by a Supremes record, a Byrds record and even a fucking Monkees record. You’re never ahead of your time if you were beat to it by the Monkees (not even if you’re David Cassidy). Most remarkably, onetime Buckaroo Jeff Haskall recorded a Buck Owens tribute record featuring Moog arrangements of Buck’s songs called Switched on Buck – and oh Lord how we’d want to find a copy of that record, just to hear it!
In fact, the Beatles really didn’t bring any unique instrumentation into pop music although they are often regarded as expanding the pop music palate. The Beatles did use a 41-piece orchestra in “A Day in the Life”, an interesting variety of guitars and amplifiers, kazoos and harmonica, and of course keyboards ranging from celestes, harmoniums and harpsichords to Hammond organs and a Fender Rhodes suitcase unit, but all of these things were used in a variety of pop music settings before and after. Pet Sounds, with its theremin and bicycle bells, expanded the oeuvre far more than Sgt. Pepper’s did without creating the same cluttered landscape. And then there was…
No. 5 – The Beatles popularized the sitar The Beatles really deserve the credit they get for this one, because the Yardbirds’ “Heart Full of Soul” was not released with the sitar as originally recorded in 1965 (although the original take was issued years later). Jeff Beck didn’t like the sound and re-recorded it with a guitar, producing a sitar-like sound. This is sometimes miscredited to Eric Clapton. A single by the Kinks (“See my Friends”) achieved the same effect. Later that same year George played a sitar on John’s song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”.
But Indian classical music had been introduced to American listeners nearly a decade earlier when Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar first began performing and recording in the United States. Shankar had already released ten albums on American labels by the time the Beatles “discovered” his music.
No. 6 – The Beatles invented the “concept album” There are too many early concept albums from the sixties to name them all, including Face to Face by the Kinks, Freak Out! by the Mothers of Invention, Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys (all 1966). These all lack a narrative theme, as does Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The first LP to develop a cohesive narrative that we are familiar with was S.F. Sorrow by the Pretty Things, released in 1968.
Many pop, country and R&B singers had released albums which worked around central themes even earlier – Ray Charles’ Genius Hits the Road takes listeners around the United States in song and Marty Robbins’ fantastic Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs revives westerns, for instance.
We’d like to credit Woody Guthrie for creating the concept album with his 1940 Folkways record Dust Bowl Ballads.
“Tom Joad Blues” parts 1 and 2 by Woody Guthrie
No. 7 – The Beatles introduced the backwards tape loop effect
Seventeen year old Travis Wammack had a regional hit with “Scratchy” in 1965, a bizzare reworking of the Ben Tucker jazz standard “Comin’ Home Baby” (best known through Mel Torme’s recording and as an extended bass/flute vamp by Herbie Mann) One of the most unsual thing about the single is the vocal break in the middle, which features a backwards tape recording of Wammack’s voice.
Of course, musique concrète composers had been exploring similar effects in avant garde classical works since the introduction of magnetic tape in the late 40s and, more importantly, the more versatile three-headed tape recorder introduced around ten years later. Frank Zappa performed a piece for ensemble, bicycle and magnetic tape on the Steve Allen show in 1963, and it seems likely one of the “electronic things” he did to the tape, a recording of his wife playing the clarinet, was to reverse it (this was recently featured here on the Hymie’s blog in this post).
“Scratchy” by Travis Wammack
No 8 – Beatle records are rare and valuable
“I have a Beatles” record is something we hear on the phone or in the shop fairly often. And if you have browsed the records in antique malls and at the Unique Thrift Store and other places you have seen ordinary copies of Let it Be and Abbey Road absurdly overpriced.
Yes, “butcher cover” copies of Yesterday and Today are uncommon in any state, but for each genuine one we have seen here in the shop there have been dozens people with 70s and 80s reissues of the album insisting they have something incredibly valuable. There are hundreds of thousands – and usually millions – of every Beatle album and they are in nearly every collection that comes into every record shop in the world.
People are often surprised that the records for which we pay the big bucks aren’t their copies of Meet the Beatles or With the Beatles or Beatles for Sale, but their oddball record they assumed nobody would be interested in – some of the coolest and rarest things that have come into the shop in the past year were in collections that naturally included a few Beatle records too, and the owner was surprised we were more excited about their unusual local record than their Beatle record.
One recent collection included the C.A. Quintet’s Trip through Hell along with several Beatle records – in any shape it is one of the rarest Minnesota garage records. Another collection of loose 45s included the Shandell’s “Gorilla” (actually a Wisconsin band, but local enough), of which there are purportedly only 100 copies. Now that’s a rare record! “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on the other hand, well there were millions of them.
A conclusion The fun thing about Beatles trivia and all is that it’s a starting point in any fun discussion of rock and roll history. Ubiquitous as they are, Beatle record are really really awesome, and belong in any collection. We just hope they are not the only thing in your collection.
The Ximinez-Vargas Ballet Company was a touring act in the 1950s, led by Roberto Ximinez and Manolo Vargas. So far as we can tell Ballet Español is the only album they released in the United States. According to the notes on the jacket it was recorded in RCA/Victor’s Studio A on Agust 27th and 28th 1958.
The album was produced by Herman Diaz Jr., whose other projects for RCA’s “Living Stereo” imprint include some of our favorite album of the era: the Ames Brothers’ collaboration with Esquivel (Hello Amigos), Perez Prado’s classic albums (like Big Hits by Prado and Exotic Music of the Americas), Tito Puente’s Mucho Puente and Belafonte’s Calypso (featured here on the blog a couple weeks ago).
Ballet Español is an exciting album, but the Ximinez-Vargas Ballet Company was probably best experienced in the theater. Here’s a sample of the album:
We found an article about the company in the archives of St. Petersburg’s Evening Independent (linked here) which includes a brief description and a photograph, and a video of Ximinez and Vargas dancing with Pilar López, here:
Frank Zappa’s first television appearance, from 1963. His presentation of music for ensemble, pre-recorded tape and bicycle takes a subtle stance in between serious art and satire. The ingenuity of Zappa’s humor seems lost on Steve Allen.
Like pretty much every record shop in America, we’re deluged with copies of Tapestry, the 1971 solo album that made Carole King a household name. If you have a collection of more than about fifty records, you have this one. When we kids used to trade baseball cards (and how old does this suddenly make us sound?) the players who weren’t stars were called commons. You’d have to trade ten, twenty or more commons for a Kirby Puckett, and sadly when your family went to visit family on either coast your Kent Hrbeks were regarded as lowly commoners.
Tapestry is the common-est common of any classic rock collection and that’s led to it’s being under-appreciated by some snooty record collectors. The fact that these are the first two songs on the album is enough to justify it being listed at #36 on Rolling Stone‘s collection of the 500 greatest rock and roll albums:
“I Feel the Earth Move”
“So Far Away”
There are more than 10 million copies of Tapestry out there in garages and basements, and in King’s living room (we presume) four Grammys from the album. She was the first woman to win “best song” or “best album.” King was a successful woman in a world skewed against her, largely because she wrote memorable, distinctive songs. She certainly wasn’t the first female singer-songwriter to top the charts, but she might have been the best.
“Up on the Roof” by the Drifters
“Some Kind of Wonderful” by the Drifters
King famously started as half of a songwriting duo with her then-husband Gerry Goffin, writing pop songs for acts like the Drifters, whose 1962 Goffin/King penned “Up on the Roof” is an early example of King’s subtly and sophisticated style of storytelling.
Another song that is less famous than “Up on the Roof” (which hit #5 on the charts) is this single by Eydie Gorme from 1963:
“Everybody Go Home” by Eydie Gorme
We at Hymie’s have always championed those records people dismiss as “uncool” because we know that the hipsters might have shelves full of records by God Speed You Black Emperor and This Bike is a Pipe Bomb (and other bands whose names are sentences) but inside one of their Yo La Tengo (it’s a Spanish sentence!) albums is a copy of Tapestry. Afterall, no Carole King = No that-band-so-cool-you-heard-of-them-before-they-broke-up-and-have-their-sticker-on-your-laptop.
The King/Goffin songs were awesome enough to have been covered by the Beatles – “Chains” was featured on their debut album, Please Please Me in 1963 but had earlier been a hit for the Cookies.
“Chains” by the Cookies
The Cookies were Little Eva’s back-up singers. Before “Chains” she had topped the charts with another King/Goffin song, “The Loco-Motion.” That song would be a #1 again while Tapestry was ruling the AM airwaves and the charts after Grand Funk Railroad covered it.
Tapestry was technically King’s third album, although for many listeners it was an introduction. Her first solo album, Writer, received very positive reviews but didn’t sell well until after Tapestry became a hit.
Before that she led a band called the City who recorded one album for Ode Records in 1968. The band didn’t tour and fell into obscurity – their album has been mostly out of print ever since, even though there’s some great songs and great performances on it. King was still married and co-writing her some songs with Goffin at this time, but the album sounds distinctly like her solo records of the 70s. The album explores themes like the feeling of being an outsider but seeking acceptance, and feeling like “a victim of circumstance” (to quote one track).
“Wasn’t Born to Follow” by the City
“Now that Everything’s Been Said” by the City
At 71, Carole King is not completely retired, but has said in interviews she will is not planning to write any more new songs. She did publish an autobiography last year called Natural Woman, which is probably a really interesting look into the music industry from the perspective of someone who reached the greatest heights of success while always remaining somewhat of a stranger.
This is Michael Jackson’s 1997 short film Ghosts. Aside from capturing his macabre sense of humor at its most childish, it bears no slight resemblance to the actual persecution Jackson faced as a “freak” run out of a “nice normal town.”
Expressions of personal grief and anxiety often take the form of ghost stories, including Poe’s “Raven” and Shelly’s Frankenstein. Even the pulpiest novels by Stephen King – who co-wrote Ghosts with Jackson – are distinguished by moving and genuine human expressions (consider the grief of Louis Creed, the father in Pet Sematary, the first novel King published with reluctance). Jackson’s forays into horror – Thriller and Ghosts – offer a glimpse into his feeling of outside-ness. It’s interesting, for example, that tabloid rumors persisted for years that Jackson had tried to buy the remains of Joseph Merrick, as though it were fitting that a freak would wish to own the “Elephant Man’s” bones.
The best thing I have read about Michael Jackson since his death was an article called “Am I the Beast You Visualized?” (it took its title from one of the songs in Ghosts, “Is It Scary?”). The author, Joe Vogel, had previously written a book about Jackson’s music, but in this short piece – you can read it here – gets right to the point. One of the most admirable things about Michael Jackson was his refusal to surrender his individuality. He was through much of his life a victim, yet extraordinarily compassionate to others. He was, by all accounts and especially by our legal system, innocent of all the charges made against him, from the absurd (such as buying Joseph Merrick’s bones) to the audacious and shocking. He was, more than anything else, misunderstood.
With a third album, the Wild, out this week, a release show at the Cedar Cultural Center tonight, and a feature in this week’s City Pages, things couldn’t be looking better for tbe Ericksons, and we here at Hymie’s aren’t surprised. We were blessed with an early mix of the Wild last fall and fell in love this album all winter long.
It’s that kind of an album: you learn the words without trying, sing them without realizing, and build long-term relationships with each song. Like old or estranged friends the twelve tracks each elicit their own emotions: anxiety, regret, joy, love. Some we love “from the back to the front … for all time” and some we’re just getting to know. A couple surprise us each time around and a couple just feel like home.
The second Ericksons disc, Don’t be Scared, Don’t be Alarmed, hardly got the airplay it deserved, so it’s been a pleasure to hear tracks from the Wild in rotation on the Current. That disc was on one of our favorites last year, but even at it’s most expansive it followed a familiar folksy framework, built almost entirely by Jenny Kapernick and Bethany Valentini’s guitars.
With the Wild the sisters recorded with engineer Beau Sorenson again, but on this album incorporated a consistent rhythm section – drummer Dan Kapernick and bassist Eric Frame – yes, full disclosure, the same Eric who works here at Hymie’s as a sound engineer every weekend and played guitar with our sweethearts the Annandale Cardinals. The result is an album of fuller arrangements, still intimate but more driven than before. The Wild is the first recording to really capture the feeling of a live performances by Kapernick and Valentini.
In our description of the Ericksons’ last album we described their songs as “achingly sincere” and that’s all the more clear in the title track on this new disc. “Come to the wild with me,” Valentini intones. She’s said herself it’s not enticing.
“Come to the wild with me / face first and you will see / that’s it’s not easy.”
There’s a weariness in the song but never a sense of resignation. That’s likely to be lost on anyone who hasn’t loved, lost and lived, but the distinction is important. Where in “Monster” the Ericksons assured us we didn’t have to be scared or alarmed, in “The Wild” they seem to be telling us we haven’t got a choice. From its arresting opener through even the sweetest moments, like the truly enticing “Runaway,” the album has a “ready or not” feeling.
Dan Kapernick’s contributions on the drums are essential but very subtle, and like Connie Kay’s work with Van Morrison more comfortably rooted in jazz than rock. In fact, the entire album has an Astral Weeks feeling, especially when Valentini takes the lead and the songs seem to fall near the same stream of consciousness foundation. And like that classic album (which we almost never have in stock, sorry to disappoint you) the Wild walks between genres, is consistently unconventional and as a result is memorable.
The Ericksons will celebrate the release of their new album tonight at the Cedar Cultural Center. Jimmy Peterson (from Bellwether) will open. 7:30pm. $15.
Yesterday’s post sparked a conversation about our favorite videos, and one that brought us back in time to the metal heydeys of the 80s waz this one: