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Pete Atkin
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Listening Post
« : 18.09.07 at 15:32 »
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In the days of the old e-mail list, I would occasionally drop in a mention of of something I'd been listening to which had particularly made an impression on me on the presumptuous assumption that others of this constituency might enjoy it too.   The thing is, I've not been excited by all that much new stuff in recent months, in fact disappointed by quite a few things.  
 
I have mentioned Joe Henry's records before, so I was always going to get his new CD "Civilians".  It was yet again Shrinkmeister Dave Brown who put me on to him, having spotted him first as the producer of Solomon Burke's comeback album (the one with the Tom Waits song on it) and second as the writer of a song called "Ohio Air Show Plane Crash" (on the CD "Trampoline") which dared him not to listen to it.   The mood of many of his songs has quite a lot in common with Tom Waits, and perhaps with Jim White (just about my favourite CD title is "Dig A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See"), but his songs occupy a different bit of the musical spectrum.   I immediately loved the way he created a unique sound world for each song, using rich and inventive combinations of mainly acoustic instruments.    
 
Anyway, the new disc has exceeded my expectations.  It's downbeat but passionate and deceptively musical as always; there are fewer horns in the accompaniments, but they are still richly textured;  and the songs - in particular the the lyrics - are, I believe, his best ever, full of  hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck moments.  I intend to give Clive a copy when he gets back from Oz, if that's not too aggressive a gift.  It won't be to everyone's taste (as my Dad once helpfully told me about one of mine) but there are good samplings on the website www.joehenrylovesyoumadly.com.  I hope someone out there may like it too.
 
Pete
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