The Over-30 Top 10 of 2002
Thursday, January 9, 2003
At his absolute best, sounding like he''s saying goodbye. And there are no more where he came from.
Bob Dylan 2002 tour
Whenthey didn''t kill this guy along with Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin, they made a big mistake. He''s the most dangerous of all.
Leni Stern, Finally the Rain Has Come (LSR), and a coupla live shows at Rocco.
Her songs made more emotional connection with me than anything else I heard all year, even Johnny Cash. All she had to do was quaver essential thoughts about love, God and her life, and spin fine lines on electric guitar. Really for real.
Matthew Shipp, Equilibrium (Thirsty Ear)
Shipp has brought mystery and vitality to jazz. If it weren''t for artists like him, future generations would have to learn American improvisation as a dead language.
Brad Mehldau, Largo (Warner Bros)
Ditto for this other pianist, and Largo is evidence of either Shipp''s influence or a groundswell of populist jazz that includes modern electronics. Along with Jon Brion, Mehldau even expan- ded on it live for an elegant presentation that was beyond impressive.
Kristian Hoffman, Kristian Hoffman & (Eggbert), and live at the Derby, July 10.
Thank you, Mr. Hoffman, for reminding me what I used to like about pop music.
Westworld, Cyberdreamer (Crush).
Heavy pop that flies. It''s all about a world-class singer (Tony Harnell) who happens to be a world-class songwriter with a world-class band (Mark Reale & co.). That''s a lot, isn''t it?
Ozzy Osbourne, Live at Budokan CD & DVD (Epic), and The Osbournes (MTV)
I often admire artists I don''t understand. And as long as Ozzy keeps rocking this hard and being this funny, I don''t wanna understand him.
Black Label Society, 1919 Eternal (Spitfire)
Zakk Wylde spent a long time in the studio crafting songs and guitar textures for Ozzy''s 2001 Down to Earth. The results were too scary for Osbourne, so Wylde just sang on the tracks himself. Everybody wins.
Danzig, 777: I Luciferi(Spitfire)
Controled, relentless darkness and passion. Great song after great song. Forget the muscles and skulls, this is hard-rock music.
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Time has been profoundly unkind to some reissue-ees. And none have been whacked harder with the "dated and awful" stick than this Jerry Garcia side project turned early ''70s atrocity.
The Bay-Area''s version of the vastly more talented (a major understatement) Flying Burrito Brothers, this group was plagued with the same ailment that has rendered so many "New Depression" neo-country acts to death, a barely-capable singer in John "Marmaduke" Dawson. If you thought Garcia''s vox were squeaky and creaky, Marmaduke make JG sound Pavarotti-like by comparison. Add to this a smattering of tunes that were decent ("I Don''t Know You," "Garden of Eden") and it''s a serious downer--with the voice of a real vocalist, this band could have been saved. Garcia''s pedal steel is pretty enough (and less tentative than his guitar-playing, go figure), the rhythm section is passable enough, but nothing redeems this reediness ad nauseum.
Their theme song "Henry" is here, which was also their one stab at story-telling and naturally the subject is smuggling herb from Mexico. Hippie-dom dressed up as a clever take on Nashville cats--didn''t need it then, don''t need it now. A must to avoid.
I Walk the Streets
Asa Brebner | Accurate
The former Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers/Robin Lane sideman comes alive and on his own. Wittily-observed, basic guitar rock, the man''s been around the block a bunch and doesn''t mind letting you in on the joke. Songs like "I''m Not Going to Work Today" and "At Least Nobody Else Has Our Memories" say more about the weird acceptance of the dead-endedness of the day to day than anything emanating from the song mills of Tennessee or Los Angeles nowadays, these are truly the workingman''s blues come alive.
Best of all, AB delves into the songbook of former Dawgs/Del Fuegos singer-guitarist Phil Haynan for the absolute classic "Jack''s on Drugs," another recital of woe. But all delivered with real verve and hard- headedness. Asa''s lived to tell the tale and tell it he does--however hard this rarity is to seek out, do so now!