REBELLING AGAINST REBELLION, lead singer Brian Smith has no use for alternative. He clearly relishes the role of the Bitch, glorified in previous music generations by such scenery eaters as Mick Jagger, Robert Plant and Rod Stewart. Cut him and he'll bleed black vinyl and cheap well liquor--a rock and roll heart beating out of time with his politically correct contemporaries. Taking their name from a Kerouac biography speaks volumes for this Phoenix band who starts this album off with Sunset Boulevard hooker Holly Golightly calling out to potential clients. Produced by Gilby Clarke, Unhappy Hour is filled with all the pop hooks and good times Cheap Trick didn't get around to. Party on kids, just the way your parents hated it. (No word if Truman Capote is spinning in his grave over being linked with Jack.)
MORRISON IS DAMN near encyclopedic in his familiarity with American music, allowing him to effortlessly pull off a jazz album like this while other popsters crank out corny big band extravaganzas (Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon). Then again, Ronstadt and Simon never wrote pieces like "Moondance," a jazz standard awaiting discovery if ever there was one, as the version here attests. But this is not entirely Morrison's show. Through including their songs, the fussy Irishman once again pays tribute to both Mose Allison and Ray Charles, whose equal mix of Jazz with R&B was long ago an influence on him. Although the lyrics of "Who Can I Turn To" are laughable coming from Van "Fuck Off" Morrison, his reading is considerably looser and jazzier than most singers would ever dream of attempting. And sure, some of us cultish types would still love the guy if he spit on us (and he would if he could); but name another singer as comfortable breeding country, blues and soul influences with the j word.
ROBERT TREE CODY & ROBERT WALLACE WITH WILL CLIPMANWhite Buffalo
DAKOTA-MARICOPA FLUTE player Robert Tree Cody and his companions, keyboardist Rob Wallace and percussionist Will Clipman, dedicate White Buffalo to Miracle, the first white bison born in six generations. The opening "Spring Song" sets a stately, reverential tone for compositions that reflect on the guiding voices of the natural world. Cody's flute rings with a deep and plaintive resonance that is emotionally as well as aesthetically alluring. Drawing on the strength of simplicity, Clipman's steady rhythms and Wallace's muted shadings fill out the aural landscape gracefully. A gentle roll of thunder introduces the final "Thunder Beings," a song that gently gives way to the muted sound of rain, leaving the listener in a tranquil, renewed state of mind.
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