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  Listen Up! 6/7/02 Listen Up!

Friday, June 7

The Jam, “Compact Snap!,” Polygram Records. I haven’t seriously listened to the Jam in a long time. Boy howdy! Do these records hold up! Rich Buckler was a major league drummer, a man who played exactly what the songs required, which was over-the-top, balls-out rapid-fire fills and major league jet propulsion. Bruce Foxton played some of the most intensive bass lines in pop music history. And Paul Weller, back before he discovered soul music, was a master at updating Who and Kinks styled anthemic hooks. This career retrospective left off eight tracks from the original LP version of the same thing, but what’s left is absolute cream. Remind me to play these guys again in much less than ten years.

Chuck Prophet, “No Other Love,” New West Records. I bow down and pray to any song as good as “I Bow Down and Pray to Every Woman I See.” The basic formula of this one, bluesy, rootsy chords set to drum machine programming and dark, bass-heavy grooves while Prophet intones in his deep rumbling voice, is followed over and over. But, “I Bow Down” is jauntier than the other songs, and has a more memorable hook. Not that every song in the world has to be spritely to get me to like it; I’m just trying to figure out why I love this song, and tune in and out of the others.

Flora Purim, “Flora Purim Sings Milton Nascimento,” Narada Records. Purim manages to suck the life out of songs by one of the most interesting Brazilian pop writers of the last thirty or forty years. Not because she doesn’t sing it pretty enough, just because the musical surroundings are so static. All the dynamics are from the post fusion by-the-book patterns Airto Moreira has always been associated with. Maybe the instruments are more likely to be acoustic than they once were, but the ideas aren’t any deeper.

--Steve Pick



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