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  Listen Up! 2/13/03 Listen Up!

Thursday, Feb. 13

The Be Good Tanyas, “Chinatown,” Nettwerk Records. Snooze. Yawn. Why do some people get the idea folk music is meant to be sterile and pretty and quiet and completely removed from any involvement with life itself? Because it’s supposed to be so much the opposite of that.

Ustad Mohammad Omar, “Virtuoso From Afghanistan,” Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Back in college, a long, long time ago, I took a class in Non-Western musics, and I actually learned what a rabab is. Now, I can only tell you it’s sorta like a guitar. It certainly sounds cool, and there are some really interesting and provocative collaborations between Omar and tabla player Zakir Hussain here. I wish it was louder to be heard over the heater in the office, but you can’t have everything, can you?

The Clash, “Know Your Rights,” Epic Records. I missed most of this because I was at lunch, but Lord knows these songs are all burned pretty seriously into my memory. I have virtually every one of these 18 cuts on 7”” singles from back in the time they were new. Maybe this isn’t a representative collection of what made the band great, but that doesn’t mean every last song on here isn’t close to brilliant. Aggressive punk rock agit prop to reggae experiments with lyrics about realizing the failure of one’s ideals to early hip hop/rock crossover. RIP, Joe Strummer.

--Steve Pick

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