- 12 May 01
One might have thought that such a wild and woolly year would have produced a more extraordinary selection of records to mull over in these last weeks.
One might have thought that such a wild and woolly year would have produced a more extraordinary selection of records to mull over in these last weeks. There was some great stuff, but by god here we are on the threshold of a new era of world peace(!) with the Ron’n’Mikhail show gladtiding one and all, and suddenly the muse has gone AWOL! U2 and the Paisley Park crew were in there for a strike apiece, but, those paragons aside, only Troublefunk looked like they really meant it.
So it was U2, T-Bone, REM, Bruce, and Van … What’s new?
Well, Nanci Griffith is, and so is Terence Trend D and Dwight Yoakam (more or less). But the great surprise was the return of two of the true American guitar heroes, Ry Cooder and Robbie Robertson. Cooder’s ‘Get Rhythm’ is an absolute pearl, all at once wild and rocking and corny and hilarious and sweet. And Robertson? Despite one or two less than convincing workouts (one with U2) the album is both a welcome assertion of viability in the ’80s and an eloquent reminder of the soul of the Band. And, almost in the same breath, came the prodigal’s return of Warren Zevon.
Then there’s the Irish – Van, Rory (another guitar great returns) and Christy, from the old guard, and Microdisney, among many, from the new. And there were two very pleasing albums from the borders of new age music, ‘Enya’, by herself, and Michael O’Suilleabhain’s ‘The Dolphin’s Way’. Another delight was ‘The First Flower of Summer’ by Buttons and Bows.
The strong undercurrent of American dirty realism continued, as well as the almost overpowering surge of reissues. Every vault seems to have been raided, most consistently by Ace – and then they find another! There were dozens of totally desirable reissues in 1987, like the Elmore James and BB King selections, or Edsel’s ‘Gabby Pahinui’ from 1975, but it reached the point where, frankly but sadly, I can’t afford to indulge!