CD Review: Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John
Peter Case - 2007 release
One of THE BEST RECORDS OF 2007
For starters, "24 Hours" begins the album with a song that will certainly be on the best of list at the end of the year. This song has some of the best hooks Case has conjured up in awhile, as well as his usual literate lyrics. Besides that though, this song also has the benefit of guest Richard Thompson on guitar and vocals, which really makes this a proper record.
Interestingly though, Thompson's contribution of vocal harmonies on "24 Hours" did even more to benefit the song than his fancy guitar. Thompson's guitar playing is certainly a nice bonus, but Peter Case himself is actually a pretty fair picker. He's mostly got the fancy pickin' covered. But that second voice was really critical in the mix.
This underscores the limitation of the Peter Case style. He tends to present himself in the role of lone troubador, just him and his guitar - maybe a little harmonica now and then. That's nice, and you get all that intimacy and directness and such. But he loses out that way musically for the lack of optimum arrangements, even just for basic vocal harmony singing.
Still, he gets a lot of good mileage out of that basic acoustic folky setup. "Million Dollars Bail" has been stuck in my brain a bit. I don't know that this was specifically based on the Clarkson shooting, but this story of rich man's justice has Phil Spector's name all over it.
"Underneath the Stars" stands out as actually a pretty fair legitimate pop song. I could reasonably imagine at least a relatively literate teenage rock fan digging this. Case tends to be at least halfway mindful that it don't mean a thing without that swing, keeping up a pretty strong rootsy rhythmic element - which is a critical point distinguishing him from weenie folk singers. Again, a simple vocal harmony part here really adds to the song.
Past that, frankly the compositions start running together. They're all literate and well thought out. They sound pretty good while I'm listening to them and following the storylines of the lyrics, but some of these tunes are not especially memorable as melody. I'm not remembering much of some these songs after I hear them. "Palookaville" sticks with me a little melodically, and the "Get Away Blues" is a particularly good guitar jam. They trail off from there.
I figure that scores three
excellent songs, half a dozen good songs, and maybe a couple of lesser interest.
That's a pretty fair batting average. If you dig Peter Case, you'll likely
appreciate this. Anyone interested in folk music, troubadors and such
should dig this. It's certainly better than anything Dylan's done in 20
To Al's Culpepper Log [updated frequently]
morethings master photo gallery index MP3 sammy davis little richard photos buddy holly pictures fats domino images chuck berry pictures 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 01/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12 01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ la manchurian candidate pictures 24 lucille ball images james blunt photos clint eastwood pictures lena horne images team america pictures robert mitchum photos bruce springsteen pictures mariah carey pictures ann coulter photos sissy spacek pictures tanya tucker images loretta lynn pictures beatles pictures white stripes pictures andy griffith pictures kill bill pictures parliament funkadelic p-funk pictures beverly hillbillies pictures al barger frank zappa pictures jerry lee lewis pictures richard pryor photos june carter johnny cash pictures vic mackey shield pictures macy gray pictures james cagney images elvis presley pictures gwen stefani images dolly parton pictures devil whores pictures tom petty photos tori amos pictures joaquin phoenix images Quills movie images peter lorre images reese witherspoon pictures flaming lips images rolling stones photos fiona apple images dr strangelove pictures elvis costello images ray charles photos marx brothers pictures prince rogers nelson pictures blazing saddles images sinead o'connor images eddie murphy photos all in the family pictures south park pictures homer simpson images bob dylan pictures elizabeth taylor photos drawn together images saturday night live pictures hee haw pictures james brown images pete townshend photos tina turner pictures dixie chicks photos robert anton wilson images guns n roses pictures paula abdul pictures jodie foster photos borat eminem frank sinatra photos van halen images satan