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  Listen Up! 6/5/02 Listen Up!

Wednesday, June 5

Dolly Parton, “Halos & Horns,” Sugar Hill Records. This is the third terrific offering from Dolly since she left the major label world and started doing what she wanted. Now, I could live without this portentious version of “Stairway to Heaven” that ends the record; it sounds like a forced attempt to do something different, which is exactly what all her other rock covers on the other records weren’t. But, her originals are gorgeous, and frequently funny and sweet at the same time. And she’s singing so damn well. This will be released in the beginning of July; it will be worth waiting for.

Guru, “Jazzmatazz Vol. 1,” Chrysalis Records. Nine years after this came out, it sounds better than ever. The idea was to have live jazz musicians create the grooves in the studio for Guru and his buddies to rap over. The grooves move and zoom and shift and hit you in the gut. So what if none of the raps is memorable? They’re rhythmically exciting, and they match the enthusiasm of the musicians.

Fiddlers 4, “Fiddlers 4,” Compass Records. Four guys that play fiddle (well one of them is a cellist) tackle all sorts of American and European traditional music, and bring a joie de vivre to every damn one of them, from jazz to Cajun to Greek to bluegrass. Here’s Michael Doucet of Beausoleil, who is a genius in my book, teamed with Daron Anger, Bruce Molksy, and Rushad Eggleston. You don’t usually hear four fiddlers playing together with such invention and such enthusiasm.

--Steve Pick



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