THE CHIEFTAINSThe Long Black Veil
THE IRISH MASTERS (around since the mid-'60s) gather some other fabled performers presenting traditional and contemporary songs from both sides of the big pond.
Sting's rendition of an 18th century poem set to Chieftains' music is partially done in Gaelic. At one point it sounds as if he's singing about an enema--certainly something many of us have hoped he would get eventually.
Best cuts: "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" with Van Morrison, the title track with Mick Jagger, "The Lily Of The West" with Mark Knopfler, "Love Is Teasin' " with Marianne Faithfull and the beautifully over-the-top Tom Jones vocals on "Tennessee Waltz/Tennessee Mazurka."
Ry Cooder contributes wizardry on several tracks. Also appearing: Sinead O'Connor and The Rolling Stones.
ARCHERS OF LOAFVee Vee
CHAPEL HILL'S ARCHERS craft rubber-kneed pop delectables crammed with weird, quirky riffs, hoarsely emphatic vocals, and a traditional sense of backbeat dynamics. Which is to say, they're provocative, but they get you off, too.
Lines from "Harnessed In Slums" may be slightly oblique, but when you hear 'em barked out exuberantly--defiantly!--and wrapped in a stomping/chiming Big Rawk musical arrangement that sounds like The Raspberries' "Tonight" as recontextualized by Pavement, well, kids, it's the summer anthem for '95--every bit as irresistible as Superchunk's "Slack Motherfucker."
RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERSBlues Guitar Virtuoso Live In Europe
AN APOSTLE OF T-Bone Walker and student of Jimmie Vaughn, Earl is captured "live" (the recording has been touched up in the studio) on this ponderously titled disc.
His jazz-scented chordings may bore fans of Earl's rowdier Caucasian blues peers, but his sublime control of tone and tenor is worth savoring. He lets rip when he feels the calling, just listen to "Blues For The West Side," a juiced stun-gun of Chicago blues played in tribute to Magic Sam.
The Broadcasters, especially keyboardist Bruce Katz (hear him summon the faithful to the church of soul on "Moanin' "), come in loud and clear where necessary and hushed and delicate when that is called for, too.
SNFUThe One Voted Most Likely To Succeed
THE HACKEY-SACK PROMO item isn't the only thing to separate SNFU from most of this year's punk models. These Canucks know how to give a smirk, as "Drunk On A Bike" and "Mutated Dog" attest. But "My Mold Collection" takes the cake, so to speak, with the lines "No mold's too old, I scrape my armpits each and every day, adding nicely to the blue decay." While People and Gentleman's Quarterly are educating us all about this new thing called "punk," SNFU beats most of the new pretenders at their own game. "Yes, we are wagon-jumpers," jokes the band, "but we've also burned it down!"
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