RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
-'.l.| . . to p
I The Walkabouts:
Satisfied Mind (Sill) Pop) ‘Sometimes songs like to travel,‘ writes Walkabout Chris Eckman in the sleeve notes. ‘Hopefully we‘ve given these songs that chance.‘ This collection of covers doesn’t so much travel as wander. Easily. lazily. heat-hazil y. Satisﬁed Mimi is the Seattleites‘ minimal reading of songs by Nick Cave (‘Loom ()f The Land‘). Gene Clark (‘Polly‘). Charlie Rich (‘Feel Like Going Home‘). Mary Margaret O‘Hara (‘Dear Dearling‘) and nine others. All are treated with restrained respect. though not to the extent of hands-off frigidity.
Drifting through country/folk backwoods. The Walkabouts should be viewed as eco-tour guides: in itself their Satisﬁed Mind is a quiet wonder. but use it as a take-off point for further exploration of the sources of this expedition into covers-ville. That‘s what making these songs travel is all about. (Craig McLean)
I Cuns ll’ Roses: The Spaghetti Incident?
(Geffen) Supposedly the publishing royalties generated by world sales of the Gunners‘ ‘punk‘ covers album will be in the region of £600.000 per song. Whether this is enough to compensate the writers for the bloody slaying of their songs is
. open to question. On
second thoughts. who are we kidding? Ofetmrse it‘s enough. especially in the case of the less heinous of the Gunners‘ crimes:
Duff McKagan‘s version of Johnny Thunders‘ ‘You Can‘t Put Your Arms Around A Memory‘ (which sounds suitably smacked-out) and the
band version of The UK
Subs‘ ‘Down On The Farm‘ (which has Axl
. squealing his best Dick
i cockney accent. and is F surely hilarious enough to
give the Subs the kind of laugh that money can‘t buy).
Why is it called The Spaghetti Incident 5"? Because Guns N‘ Roses are pasta their best. no question mark required. (Craig McLean)
I John Adams: Hoodoo Zephyr (Elektra Nonesuch) Philip Glass dipped into the rock song market on Songs For Liquid Days a few years back. and John Adams now sort of follows suit. Whereas Glass included singers and lyrics. however. Adams gives us a series of self-performed. electronically generated
soundscapes. and prints words (in a Beat poetry- ish vein) on the sleeve (you can sing along ifyou like). It‘s appealing enough music as far as it goes. which isn‘t really far enough. Glass. meanwhile. has another very different vocal collaboration in Hydrogen Jukebox (Elektra Nonesuch). this time with texts and recitation by genuine Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Weird coincidence. huh? (Kenny Mathieson)
I Plasticman: Sheet tine/3 Phase: Schlangeniarm (both llovaMute) Two tranced- out techno releases from points West and East. Plasticrnan is Richie Hawtin after a weird trip into the underground basement parties of his native Detroit. The hard hypnotistn of Sheet One. pushed to the limit with a surprisingly soft-edged bassdrum sample. reaches its peak in ‘Glob‘. before mutating through a sea of Roland 303 waves into the
‘ sparse darkness of ‘Plasticine'. Chill-music
g for the demented; a dance- fest for the weird hours.
Berliner Sven Roehrig‘s industrial influences are all too clear in Si'ltlatrgeIt/arm. with strange mechanical samples dropped into a supple brew of seductive beats. It‘s at its kicking best in the uplifting crowd-pleaser ‘Rota‘. Sinuous. (Thom Dibdin)
I Albert Collins: Collins Mix - The Best Of Albert Collins (Pointblank) All- star casts sometimes cancel each other out as effectively as paired parliamentarians. But contributions from BB King. Gary Moore. Kim Wilson. Branford Marsalis. The Memphis Horns and others enhance what‘s turned out to be the first major retrospective of Collins‘ work (he died last month aged 6|). This man had it all - speaking guitar. groove. attitude. pain (he got so peed-off with the mid-70s music biz that he reverted to painting and decorating. including work on Neil Diamond‘s mansion). gain (a rock solid marriage to fellow songwriter Gwendolyn Collins) and the chance to roar back for his ﬁnal curtain. Tragically soon. but boy. what a show. Not a bad moment on this. and of course the music will live forever.
I Robert Cray: Shame And A Sin (Mercury) Eighties blues darling Cray often suffers from criticisms that his
polished performance and pretty face fail to deliver the pain relief normally
. expected from this music.
Some tracks here endorse that. but ‘I Shiver‘ suggests our Bob has finally made it through enough rain to tell a better tale. Help from the late Albert Collins improves the momentum but too often Cray lets glossy accuracy get in the way of a good song. If only he‘d let it all hang out once in a while. Heaps better than a poke in the eye. though. I Johnnie Johnson And The Kentucky Headhunters: That’ll Work (Elelrtra Nonesuch) Intellectual analysts often complain about the blues‘ similarity to itself. ‘Once you‘ve heard one . . .‘ they pontiﬁcate. But as it’s also been theorised. it ain’t what you do but how — never more apposite than here. A veritable textbook for the aspiring blues and boogie musician. Nothing too hard to emulate. nothing so pat the point‘s lost. Mark Orr‘s vocals on most tracks don‘t convince quite as well as veteran joanna-ist Johnson's on two. but
that‘s probably not the point. It works.
I Bo’Weevil: Scoundrel Blues Graduates of the Preservation Hall school of Scottish blues. their debut CD lacks the punch and drive of their live shows. but contains some real gems including ‘How Long Must I Wait‘ featuring Jon Turner on piano and a haunting solo frotn Edinburgh sax hero Frankie Mooney on the title track. Ace playing. good. all-original songs and worth repeated listening.
I Summerfield Blues: Devil And The Freightrnan Winners of the I993 Edinburgh Blues Festival New Blues Artists contest (in which yours truly was the runner-up who fell chemically unaided from her seat at a borrowed keyboard). this Kirkcaldy four-piece has good taste. the right attitude and a keen ear for the type of material to attract the chance of taking it further. Respectful and accurately- observed originals sit comfortably alongside well-executed numbers by Broonzy. Johnson. Willie Dixon and Alexis Korner. (Ellie Buchanan)
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The List 17 December l993—l 3 January I994 47