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  Listen Up! 2/5/04 Listen Up!

Thursday, Feb. 5

Various Artists, “Guitar Ace: Link Wray Tribute,” MuSick Recordings. This tribute to the genius of heavy distorted guitar rock gathers most of the big names in garage revivalism. The Fleshtones, the Boss Martians, Southern Culture on the Skids, Deke Dickerson & the Eccofonics, and lots more names that sound vaguely familiar to me. While nobody captures the magic that made Wray such an original, there are a lot of ways to pay tribute to his technique and his raw excitement. Most of these 24 cuts are worthy of any kind of party you’d want to name.

Centro-Matic, “Love You Just the Same,” Misra Records. Ah, whiny indie-rock. It’s got a good beat – same one on virtually every song in fact – and rumbly guitars and vocals that aspire to Paul Westerberg level. (Hey, here’s something to consider; when Westerberg was leading the Replacements, he was aspiring to sound like people who could actually sing.) Really, this isn’t painful, but there are so many bands in the world with this level of average skill.

Bobby Womack, “Midnight Mover: The Bobby Womack Collection,” EMI Records. Womack is the most important soul/r’n’b singer/songwriter I’ve never really loved. I can appreciate him, but I can’t feel him. I can’t put my finger on why that is. Here’s a two-disc collection of 44 songs, and I’ve just heard about half of them, without ever feeling the need to stop what I was doing and pay attention. It’s not like I can always pay attention, anyway, but I didn’t even feel the desire. Oh, well, I’ve got nothing against the guy, and I recognize his talents and his role in history. He’s just not my cup of soul tea. Oh, wait, there is one exception, at least. “Across 110th Street” just came on, and this song always gets me moving. A classic of early 70s soul, halfway between Memphis and Philadelphia.

--Steve Pick

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