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  Listen Up! 3/25/02 Listen Up!

Monday, Mar. 25

Cassandra Wilson, "Belly of the Sun," Blue Note Records. I wasn't fair to this record the other day. Now that I've played it a couple times at home, I 'm warming up to the subtleties of Wilson's approach to these songs. No longer do I think she's detached from the music at all. Rather, I think she' s completely wrapped up in the music, and sliding her slippery, warm-toned voice all over the melodies. The backing of the musicians is quite lovely, too, not overbearing, but precise, and delicate, and inventive. I'm absolutely mad about "Drunk as Cooter Brown," which she wrote and which sounds like it should already be a standard from forty or fifty years ago.

Andrew W.K., "I Get Wet," Island Records. Jim Utz said it best: This sounds like the Cockney Rejects crossed with Poison.

Prefab Sprout, "Two Wheels Good," Epic Records. Back in the day, when those of us in the Brit-paper know referred to this album by its proper original title, "Steve McQueen" (and why was that name changed for the U.S., anyway?), this was a barometer of hipness. Prefab Sprout were the icons of sophisticated pop music in a post New Wave era. Truth be told, I always preferred Aztec Camera, but I remain fond of this record (and even more of its predecessor, "Swoon." The melodies are slyly insinuating, with delicate, delicious hooks provided by light-hearted guitar licks, or swooning female choruses. Here's something interesting: this came out 17 years ago. Hello, middle age.

The Who, "Live At Leeds," MCA Records. This album always rocked back in the way it was configured wall those years ago. But, now, augmented by a skadillion extra live cuts, we get further evidence that the Who really were one of the most powerful, inventive live rock'n'roll bands of the late 60s. Pete Townshend's guitar playing is a revelation, not that I ever thought it was weak or anything. It just sounds so much thicker, with better lead development than I remembered.

--Steve Pick



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