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Author Topic: Review A Favorite Underrated Acoustic Album  (Read 6771 times)
sublro
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« on: May 23, 2005, 06:35:14 PM »

I thought it would be fun and interesting to hear BRIEF, TO-THE-POINT reviews of what people here think are great acoustic-based albums that weren't particularly popular (so aren't likely to already be in our collections). Boil it down for us - in short, what about the album really grabs you?

Try to stick to this description so we can keep it on topic (hey, you can start a new thread if you don't like this one  ;)  

OK - I'll start  :)

I've been listening again to Don McLean's live double-album called "Solo". It's from a concert tour in the 70's at the height of his popularity. Just him and a banjo and a D-28 and the audience. It's somewhat raw, but shows clearly the enormous guitaristic, lyrical, and vocal talent of the man. Also a certain wide-eyed innocence in his delivery and songwriting /selection of covers... truly captivating from where I sit.

A few forgettable songs, but many gems, particularly if you're a close listener with the patience for good story telling and character development in a song. "American Pie", though a classic, really sold him short. Skip it and go straight to all the rest of it.
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Rob 

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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2005, 07:21:55 PM »

Stephen Stills Stills Alone.A mix of new and old recordingsNot a bad tune on the recording.Only down side is that you can tell when he's playing a guitar plugged in so the tone isn't always great.
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2005, 07:55:09 PM »

Jimmy Buffett live in studio at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA. Two times  - Feb. 1974 and Oct. 1974. One is Buffett solo and the other is Buffett with Roger Bartlett (guitar), Jerry Jeff Walker, and others accompanying him. All acoustic. It's bootleg but the sound quality is great being recorded in the studio before a small, live audience.

Great stuff if you like "early Buffett" as I do.      
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tubeornot2b
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2005, 11:32:39 PM »

Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bojangles". I had the original LP when it came out, loved it then, love it now. On the latest incantation, the remastered CD version, there are a couple of unnecessary "bonus" tracks. Did we really need to be reminded of the 45 version of Mr. Bojangles, when the album version is so much better?

Greats songs and singing by a very young Jerry Jeff. Beautiful acoustic guitar playing by David Bromberg throughout. Literally down to the closing riff on the lovely "My Old Man" album closer, now followed by the bonus tracks. Hit stop before they begin, and it is a nice finish.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2005, 11:49:14 PM »

Greg Brown "If I had only Known"
Kelly Joe Phillips "Shine Eyed Mister Zen"

Not mainstream but very good.
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2005, 12:30:13 AM »

Quote
Greg Brown "If I had only Known"
Kelly Joe Phillips "Shine Eyed Mister Zen"

Not mainstream but very good.
KJP underrated?? Unnoticed maybe but those who know him would never underrate him. I'm with you 100% though: Shine Eyed Mister Zen is amazing, and almost anything GB does is fine by me.

Two of my favorite underrated (or unnoticed) acoustic albums are:

Peter Mulvey - "Ten Thousand Mornings"

(Later edit as per Rob's request)

Mulvey returns to the subway doing what he did to make a name for himself: busking and doing great covers of great songs.The Boston subways never sounded so good.

Favorite tracks: Two Janes from Los Lobos, Caleb Meyer from Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings and The Ocean from Dar Williams.


Paul Geremia - "Live from Uncle Sam's Backyard"

(Later edit as per Rob's request)

Largely ignored by the mainstream, Geremia is one of the greatest living interpreters of the blues and one of it's all time greatest guitarists. This recording proves it all.

Favorite tracks: Kill It Kid Rag/Piccolo Rag, Devil Got My Woman (a very different and excellent take on this) and the best version of Dyin' Crapshooter's Blues you're ever likely to hear.


Paolo
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2005, 01:10:11 AM »

I stand corrected, perhaps a misnomer, although my impression from the placement of his CDs in the bargain bins leaned me in that direction. I think as acoustic blues he is outstanding. :P  
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2005, 01:11:49 AM »

Has anyone else heard Greg Brown? I'm finding a very small audience for him. Heartfelt playing.
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2005, 02:07:36 AM »

this is great. hope I can find some of these!

remember, tell us a little about what makes it special for you. otherwise, we'll all have no way to hone in on the ones we want to check out first :)  
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Rob 

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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2005, 06:57:37 AM »

Going back a ways...great thread, by the way...

1.  Graham Parker "Live Alone in America":  GREAT songwriting, simple delivery, great humor.  This album gave me a huge songbook when I was just starting to play solo shows.  It showed me you didn't have to have an angelic voice and monster guitar chops - great songs always win out.  I have covered EVERY SINGLE SONG on this album at some time or another, even his cover of Sam Cooke's "a change is gonna come".  So I lacked some originality fifteen years ago, oh well...this album was like going to school for me.

2.  Roddy Frame "Surf": similar thing, GREAT solo acoustic guitar/vocal record by one of my all time favorite artists.  I just decided to start learning some of these songs this week (after two or so years of just singing along everytime I played the record, to the chagrin of my companions), this is like going to school as well, it's just a much harder course, as Roddy IS a monster guitarist, and fond of unusual chords.  The album itself is a perfect blend of middle-aged world-weariness and wide-eyed romanticism that has yet to be extinguished.

3. Luka Bloom "Keeper of the Faith": a fantastic album of covers with just a little extra instrumentation added to Bloom's guitar and voice here and there.  I've always thought he was possibly a better interpreter of songs than a writer, and for me -this is the perfect Luka Bloom album.

4.  Kraftwerk "the Man Machine": just making sure you weren't falling asleep on me!

5.  Bob Kemmis "tommorow doesn't look good either":  Great Canadian singer/songwriter who you may never have heard of.  Look him up on the web, this album is, with a couple of exceptions, full of great songs, simple arrangements that stay out of the way, and very nice unaffected honest singing.  You'll find yourself again and again (if you're a songwriter) going: "dang, I wish I wrote that".  I do every time I hear it.

that's all for now - looking forward to finding some of the others mentioned here, thanks all.
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2005, 04:06:31 PM »

Neil Young - Silver and Gold.  
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2005, 04:54:55 PM »

These may not be down anyone elses alley but I'll put them anyhow.

Alice In Chains- Unplugged

As with most of AIC's stuff it's pretty dark sounding, I find it even more dark than their studio versions.  Some interesting guitar work done mostly in dropped tunings.  I've always enjoyed Layne Staley's voice and this live cd really captures the emotion of it.
Fave Songs:  Down in a Hole, Would, Heaven Beside You (there isn't a track I skip)

Michael Glabicki- Uprooted

This is the lead singer from the "jam" band rusted root doing some RR songs with just him and his acoustic.  I really enjoy aggressive playing, and he strums the heck out of his acoustic on this album.  While I really like his voice and singing there are a few times when I think he over does it but it certainly doesn't ruin the album.
Fave Songs:Get In Your Way, Crucible Glow

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds- Live at Luther College

If you've never been a fan of DMB you still might enjoy this.  The songs really take on a different feel with just these two on their acoustics.  It's generally a much more mellow vibe and I think Tim really brings alot to the songs on lead guitar.  Even if you think you'll hate it check it out anyway, at the very least you'll have one more thing to trash him about :P
Fave songs:  Jimi Thing,  Minarets, Two Step, Ants Marching, Deed is Done, Cry Freedom (that's alot of faves but it's a two disc-er)

 
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2005, 05:14:44 PM »

David Francey. All four albums. Run, don't walk to where ever you can find one. Can this guy sing and write? Wow! Can he ever!  
Apparently, nothing could make me like Dave Matthews. I thought Gravedigger was possibly one of the worst songs I've ever heard by a professional. I tried to listen to some of his new album in the CD shop last week. Couldn't get past the numbing dumbness of, "I'd dig a hole to China unless I was already there in which case I'd dig my way back." Sounds okay but imo he's one of the worst songwriters in popular music. I guess I don't get it.  
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hcole
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2005, 05:20:35 PM »

Quote
David Francey. All four albums. Run, don't walk to where ever you can find one. Can this guy sing and write? Wow! Can he ever!  
Apparently, nothing could make me like Dave Matthews. I thought Gravedigger was possibly one of the worst songs I've ever heard by a professional. I tried to listen to some of his new album in the CD shop last week. Couldn't get past the numbing dumbness of, "I'd dig a hole to China unless I was already there in which case I'd dig my way back." Sounds okay but imo he's one of the worst songwriters in popular music. I guess I don't get it.
Not to hijack the thread, but I think DMB's new album (Stand Up) represents their weakest effort from a songwriting point of view.  There a few songs I like but as an album I don't care for it, and I'm a die hard fan.  
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sublro
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2005, 06:24:13 PM »

please don't hijack the thread, I like the way it's going ...

there's already a "music I don't get" thread - thanks :)
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Rob 

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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2005, 01:53:58 AM »

I'm diggin' this thread. I'm always telling my wife, I don't like to listen to the radio and here cloned songs just trying to get playing time, need songs that represent real people.

Please everyone, add more!

 
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2005, 01:55:35 AM »

I guess that would be "hear" not "here"...(or there, not here, or over thier?)

I'm so confused..... ;)  
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2005, 12:42:59 PM »

Disc 1 of "4 Way Street" by CSNY.  It's live, so it's not studio quality, but if you came of age in the 60's/70's, it's a gem.  The singing's pretty good too.
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2005, 02:41:41 PM »

Harvey Reid's "Guitar Voyages" - I just think this is one of the most underrated albums from one of the most underrated guitarists of all time.  
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2005, 03:25:12 PM »

John Hiatt - Crossing Muddy Waters

I don't think John Hiatt gets the recognition he deserves.  This was the first album of his I bought, and it remains my favorite.


Rod Picott - Girl from Arkansas

Turns out to be an excellent album.  Mostly all acoustic and recorded live in the studio (including vocals), which I love the sound of.


Guy Clark - The Dark 

Maybe not Guy Clark's very best, but again, I love the sound of this album.  Recorded live in the studio with the guys sitting around in a circle.  As always, great songwriting.
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