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Date: Mon, 02 Dec 91 06:11:08 CST
From: BEAULIEU-JOE <beaulieu[at]-remove-norcmail.uchicago.edu>
Subject: JBC Retrospective Radio Show
Yeah, I pretty much agree with you about the old stuff. Girlfriend, Next Move,
Angels, Southern Mark Smith (both versions), and Olof Palme all make my list
of the songs to put on the show. The one thing that I have not yet decided is
if I should play the record versions or live versions of the songs in question.
If I play the live version of Angels, I will play the one on the 1989 Chicago
tape. (Did David get that one to you?) But, I also have a 1986 version with
Max on guitar and a 1990 version with Julian on guitar. The same goes for
Southern Mark Smith and Girlfriend (but I don't think that they did it on the
1989 tour). The first thing that I am going to have to do is play all of the
JBC tapes that I have and write down set lists, and then pick the songs that I
want to play and then listen to each version and decide which one I like best at
that particular moment.
Now, about Condition Blue...
Racheland is the Butcher at his best. The rest of the album I have some (minor)
problems with. In general, the songwriting is top notch (with the exception of
Honey, which I cannot stand). But some of it is just too produced(?), maybe.
Case in point - the background vocals at the end of Harlan. And the background
vocals in Girls Say Yes, which is a terrific song otherwise (and maybe despite
the background vocals). Shirley is really cool. Monkeyface I can take or leave
. I don't think I like She's a Yo-Yo. The song with the weird sax bit at the
beginning would have been a lot better if it had been less produced.
So all-in-all, I would have to give the album as a whole an extremely reluctant
thumb down. I mean, I would definitely reccommend it to anyone familiar with
with JBC if only on the merits of Racheland, Girls Say Yes, and Harlan. But I
think that this would be a poor introduction to the JBC.
But I think that the stuff on this record is going to be really amazing live,
when the songs are going to be really stripped down and concentrate on the
songwriting and the melodies and all of the things that I love the most about
Pat's songs. But the truth is that for the last two albums (BigScarey,
Basement, and this one) I have not been that particularly fond of a lot of the
songs until I heard them live.
Now I feel kind of bad because I feel like I am being over-critical. I guess
what I am trying to get at is this: the songs are definitely there, but it
seems like he is having trouble getting them from the instruments and onto the
medium without the production getting in the way. One really notable exception
to this is "Onion Field" off of Basement. That is a really terrific song, and
the production is so tastefully done that you don't even notice it. Compare
that to the song on "C.B." with the sax thing at the beginning whose name I can
never remember (you know, the one that goes "did you think you were doing me a
favor..."). On that one, the production is just too overdone for my taste.
But, I definitely agree with you about the songs themselves. For me, though,
the entire record revolves around Racheland, Girls Say Yes, and Harlan.
So, am I being too harsh and over-critical? I would definitely like to hear
what other people think about this.
"Food food food and sex and sex and food and food and sex and food and sex and
drink and sex and laughs and sex" -the jazz butcher (from Cowgirl Fever)