NINETEEN SPORADIC YEARS, and more than a dozen albums later, the founding songwriting team of Glen Tillbrook and Chris Difford reconvene for the sappy, lightweight fluff-pop of Ridiculous. Theses Limey pop-wave relics, once masters of infectious and acerbic razor-sharp pop nuggets like "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)," "Tempted," and "Goodbye Girl," have now sunk to the lowest depths of MOR-friendly radio fodder with such drivel as "Grouch Of The Day," one of several borish and bitter midlife-crisis ditties which stalks this album like some jilted lover. Tillbrook (melody) and Difford (lyrics) have lost their grip on the pulse of romantic, heartbreaking pop music. Their acidic wit and caustic brand of humor and heartache has been replaced with loveless and spiteful pablum. They can still write an occasional well-crafted pop tune like "Great Escape" (which addresses spousal abuse), but most of Ridiculous is just tasteless, sleep-inducing tonic.
LITTLE FEATLive From Neon Park
THERE WAS A time when the thought of Little Feat without Lowell George, the late, great, and early departed guitarist, was untenable; a couple of unspeakable albums supported this notion. This double-disk sequence of live performances, however, restores Little Feat to some of its former percussive glory. The band's still without George, but also (save for a cameo appearance) without Pure Prairie League alum Craig Fuller, who never seemed comfortable taking George's place at the mike. Led by survivors Paul Barrere and Bill Payne, the current lineup does a creditable job of touring through classics like "Sailing Shoes," "Dixie Chicken," "Two Trains," and the indispensable "Fat Man in the Bathtub."
VERNON REIDMistaken Identity
BEFORE REID WAS the brains behind Living Colour, he played in an outrageous jazz ensemble known as The Decoding Society, headed by ex-Ornette Coleman drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson. Listeners familiar with both can understand why Reid's immensely popular black rock band was eventually found by the guitarist to be neither very alive nor all that colorful. Living Colour fell far short of the musical range covered here, which stretches from DJ Logic's hip hop to Don Byron's jazz, and is produced by both Prince Paul and previous Miles Davis associate Teo Macero. This is Reid's boldest work since recording 1985's Smash ~ Scatteration, done with the equally wacko guitarist Bill Frisell.
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