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  Listen Up! 1/31/02 Listen Up!

Thursday, Jan. 31

The Carter Family, "Sunshine in the Shadows: Their Complete Victor Recordings 1931-32," Rounder Records. I love the Carter Family, they have this mysterious quality of stoicism and hidden emotion. Of all the hillbilly acts of the late 20s and early 30s, they stand out as my favorite. This particular volume of the many great collections of their stuff is notable for the two amusing discs they recorded with their peer Jimmie Rodgers that purport to document visits of each act to the other at home. I love when they decide to fry up some chicken. I also love Jimmie Rodgers' great line about Texas being where men are men, and the women are sure proud of it.

Rye Coalition, "On Top," Tiger Style Records. Hey, this is kind of fun. A hard rock band that plays lots of seventh chords and sounds like they love all the old 70s rock and 60s soul songs. Not the greatest thing I've ever heard, but it's in that Rocket From the Crypt vein of energetic and entertaining derivative rock.

The Artist Who Was Formerly Known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince But Is Now Known as Prince Again, "The Gold Experience," Warner Bros. Records. This one came out back in 95, and I didn't pay much attention to it. It's certainly solid, very Prince-like material, with all the funkiness and melodic enjoyment that implies. Well, maybe not all of it, because this stuff isn't as timeless as his best material. I'm not sure what the lack is; it's one of those things you know when you hear it, and you know when you don't. Prince can cruise on autopilot, or he can get some fuel-injection and create brilliance. This is cruising.

--Steve Pick



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