Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Busy Being Born
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock, Children's Music
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(5 out of 5 stars)
""FIVE STARS...HUMOR, FEAR AND VIRTUOSITY...A BLAZING SONIC RIP...in theory it's a children's album, but some of these 17 pieces will give little ones nightmares - but it'll thrill anyone who loves inspired guitar virtuosity in the service of wildly creative compositions - especially 'Sandman,' which progresses from a prettily charming figure to a deep, dark din...some of the more charming tunes blend Jewish folklore with memories from Lucas' own childhood...there's also a streak of Delta blues running through the album; it surfaces most dramatically in the ravishing 'Shekhinah,' an instrumental that unites the sound of deep Mississippi and the female spiritual energy of the Kabala...Lucas' unrestricted, intelligent command of acoustic, National steel and electric guitars demands constant attention." TOWER PULSE/BOSTON PHOENIX, 8/98"
...and the humor that makes it bearable
BB | Whitmore Lake, MI USA | 01/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""He not busy being born is busy dying," Bob Dylan sang more than 35 years ago. Lucas' album is about what we start out with and how we grow. "Adon Alom "(which my 3-year-old daughter loves to sing along with)is about the simultaneous celebration and doubt of God. And it is with similar mixes of doubt and effort and joy that the album proceeds. "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Theme from Exodus" are burnished with sadness, Chico Marx's comic song "Abie the Fishman" becomes a screaming portrait of a soul's self-betrayal, while Groucho's tour de force "Lydia the Tattoed Lady" here is a springy, whirling instrumental that illustrates how humor helps make life bearable. "Busy Being Born" is on Tzadik records, and it can be seen as a portrait of the fortunes of Jews in the 20th century, but it is more than this, it is a deeply felt, musically rich and profoundly complex musical portrait of the human condition. Don't let my ponderous words fool you: this is beautiful music, with many joyful, even hilarious moments . . . but is as emotionally mixed as our lives. For me, this is the best guitar album ever, and overall as important as any music recorded in our slice of the 20th-century."
Jennifer L. Metcalf | USA | 03/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album generously dishes out doses of humor, terror, beauty, tradition, and just plain extraordinary music. "Shekhinah" is quite innocently one of the most beautiful melodies ever composed. The acoustic guitar reaches out with its phantasmagoric notes to hurl sweet little kisses in the fortunate listeners' ears. Its harmonic energy is completely irresistible and contagious and could melt a snowman's heart in the arctic."Sandman" is such a delightfully devious little secret of a tune. It starts out teasing that it's a lullaby and gradually gives hints of its true identity until the monster is suddenly unleashed. Never has it been so thrilling to be terrorized! "Sunrise, Sunset," was one of the first songs played by the artist that I ever heard, and I remember being completely floored by his complete manipulation of the guitar. Every note is executed as a complete symphony within itself. The guitar isn't played; it is sung. To say beautifully is an understatement.The melody of "The Mensch in the Moon" is taken from the score that Gary Lucas and Walter Horn composed for the live accompaniment to the 1921 German Expressionist film, "The Golem." Here, the exquisite tune is paired with very capable lyrics that make me wish this song were around when I was small. Think if the Munsters were Jewish - Herman and Lily could only dream they had a song this cool. The tune is like that of the Pied Piper: unabandoned contagion. Totally groovy, funky, psychedelic - probably best not to listen to this while operating a motor vehicle unless you want to risk getting arrested for DUI - driving under the influence of Gary Lucas. "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" is performed here as I've never heard it and probably never will. The arrangement and fruition are completely mesmerizing and stormed my heart and still haven't let go. The acoustic guitar is completely unreal. Some acoustics are technically brilliant and some are luminous in expression. This song represents a superlative marriage of both. "Lydia" is my favorite song on the album (which is saying a lot since there are so many fabulous ones from which to choose) and every time I hear it I am still amazed at its magical prowess to encapsulate my complete attention."Crawlspace" is exactly what a children's song should be - pure fun. The melody rains energetic notes of rock, folk, blues and funk in a wonderful downpour that just makes you want to get up and dance. There is a delightfully funky electric guitar solo in the middle of the song that's a real treat (and if I'm not mistaken was given birth in the song "Hugh's Graveyard Stomp" off the album, "Skeleton at the Feast" -- another top-notch album). Gary sounds like he's having a blast with this song, and it shows. There's an earlier version on the Du-Tels album with Peter Stampfel which is also fun, but I prefer this variant. This song reminds me that even big kids need their own crawlspaces sometimes.The traditional song for Pesach, "Dayenu," morphs into the Dreidel song in a wonderfully fresh approach to tradition with its (never overbearing) bluegrass flavor. The song grows in anticipation (with hints) until you're practically begging to hear the Dreidel melody. Fortunately, the appetite is well-sated before the song is finished."Abie the Fishman" is my young son's favorite song off the CD. A simple melody is repeated with different flavors and voices and occasional outbreaks of delirium. This isn't a song by which to relax, but it rounds off a truly versatile album.The version of "Hinay Ma Tov" that Gary has created is strangely enticing. The melody itself is "spooky" (as the artist describes inside the CD jacket), yet there is such an intrigue begat with acoustic and electric guitar here. I have no idea how the mystical effect was created, but instead of pushing me away, the darkness draws me in with beckons of punctuated notes. It's quite difficult to explain, but this is a song that I constantly play over and over to catch nuances that I swear weren't there the previous time.The most wonderful aspect of this album is how it spurred my curiosity to learn more about what lay behind the words and melodies. I've reexamined ideas in religion, film, history, music, and much more. Oh, and the music is quite beautifully arranged and performed as well. This outstanding array of musical accomplishment demands a five-star plus rating."