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  Listen Up! 11/20/02 Listen Up!

Wednesday, Nov. 20

Blue Murder, “No One Stands Alone,” Topic Records. The old Anglican hymns, the harmonically natural cadences, the folk ballads of England, the melodies simple yet majestic, and most of all the sound of voices blending and escaping from the blend. This is sheer beauty; this will warm you up like your favorite childhood moment. If you know me, you know I love the Waterson family, here represented by Norma and the stunning Mike Waterson, Norma’s husband, the incomparable Martin Carthy, and their daughter Eliza. Add three guys with voices strong enough to both fit in and stand apart from theirs, and you’ve got a recipe for perfection.

Mississippi Fred McDowell, “The Best of Mississippi Fred McDowell,” Arhoolie Records. McDowell’s sixties blues revival records are universally joyous, exhilarating, exciting, energetic, and just plain fun. He was so rhythmic, so vital, so powerful. Even when he sang of bad times, he always sounded like they were worth experiencing just so we could get the good feeling of hearing him sing about them. This compilation has more songs that you have heard before than you might suspect.

The Sights, “Got What We Want,” Fall of Rome. These kids really understand how to write songs that sound fresh and up to date while retaining a healthy dose of respect for 60s garage and psychedelic conventions. In short, they rock, and they reward repeated listening like few of their contemporaries can imagine. This is a fantastic record.

--Steve Pick



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