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  Listen Up! 5/9/03 Listen Up!

Friday, May 9

The Jayhawks, “Rainy Day Music,” American Recordings. “Would it be wrong to call these guys their generation’s Poco?” asked Steve Scariano as he walked into the office and heard me listening to this record. Funny he should mention that, because I was getting that same vibe on my own. Scariano drew the parallel with Poco further, pointing out that both bands lost an important songwriter early, but kept on for years without him. Me, I was just talking about the harmonies and some of the melodies. Ah, well, let’s talk about this record. It, uh, sounds a little like Poco. The last couple of albums had aspired to Fleetwood Mac-dom, but most of the glorious pop elements are missing in favor of a stripped-down, more country-ish style. The big exception is “Save It For a Rainy Day,” a delightful song that would have been minor on the last record, but is a stand-out here. “Come to the River” is as balls-out a rocker as these guys will ever do. “Angelyne” has a pretty tune (and would probably sound really cool sequing after St. Louis alt-country icons Nadine’s “Angela”). How often will I want to hear this record? Not a whole lot. Will I ever be upset if I hear it? Not that I can imagine.

B.B. King, “Deuces Wild,” MCA Records. I really don’t remember seeing this album before, but it’s a duets album from 1997. When did “Playing With My Friends” come out? I’m so confused. Anyway, King’s guitar work is splendiferous on here, and many of the duet partners sing their hearts out, especially Van Morrison. But King’s voice is shot here, and that makes this something less than recommended.

--Steve Pick

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