Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|David Johansen, Harry Smiths|
Genres: Blues, Pop, Rock
From glam-rock frontman of the New York Dolls to his phase as the tuxedoed dandy Buster Poindexter to his latest incarnation as man-in-black blues revivalist, David Johansen has always displayed great taste in clothes and ... more »
From glam-rock frontman of the New York Dolls to his phase as the tuxedoed dandy Buster Poindexter to his latest incarnation as man-in-black blues revivalist, David Johansen has always displayed great taste in clothes and tunes. His second album as the leader of the Harry Smiths (named in honor of the man who compiled the influential Anthology of American Folk Music) finds Johansen settling into his latest incarnation with striking confidence. The gruff-voiced vet brings a potent reverence and finesse, as well as some bite, to tracks from the fabled likes of Furry Lewis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Charley Patton--not a modest feat. Understated accompaniment from the quartet of Brian Koonin, Larry Saltzman, Kermit Driscoll, and Keith Carlock suits the song and the singer to a T. Harry Smith would've been proud to have his name associated with Shaker. --Steven Stolder
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Reimagining tradition, brilliantly
Jerome Clark | Canby, Minnesota | 06/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Something magical happens when David Johansen and the Harry Smiths take on old-time blues and folk songs. Shaker is every bit the equal of their first, eponymously titled disc, maybe even better -- though when music is this good, such comparisons become meaningless.Johansen is a great folk-blues singer in the same way Bob Dylan is, though the two sound neither alike nor like the source singers from whose dusty 1920s/30s 78s they get their material or take their inspiration. Like Dylan, Johansen finds a way into the heart of a song and transforms it into something so distinctive and personal that comparisons to the original are rendered irrelevant. This is saying a lot when one considers that the originals are classic recordings by Furry Lewis, Tommy McClennan, Son House, Muddy Waters, and other giants of the blues at its most intensely rooted.The Harry Smiths help make all this possible via creative, rhythm-driven, mostly acoustic grooves, grounded in tradition yet standing somewhere outside, above, and around it. Together with Johansen's heart-wrenchingly expressive vocals, alternately angry or morose or sardonic, they take the songs and the listeners to a place they have never been before."
Transfiguration of tradition
Jerome Clark | 12/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought the first Harry Smiths album was brilliant but this one is even better. There is a more consistent feel to the whole thing with David rarely straying from the country blues canon and the band providing an understated, nonflashy yet totally appropriate groove throughout. Most of the songs have been endlessly covered by others through the years but David truely makes you hear them anew. They are recognisable old classics but transfigured into something else. Like Johnny Cash with his American Recordings series the music sounds like it comes from someplace outside of time and fads. And that voice - it has to be one of the great voices for this stuff. Once again only Cash compares in terms of singing and interpreting old trad American music in a seemingly effortless way with true profound depth and soul. This is a truely great album that you can listen to again and again. All the tracks are great in their own way - my favorites change each time I listen although My Morphine (the one relatively contemporary song) and Death letter stand out (mind you so does Kassie Jones, The last kind words, High sheriff .......)."
Great follwup CD. Great singing and playing.
Mickey Randazzo | Syracuse, NY USA | 12/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Johansen and the Harry Smith band just gave us a fun and soulfull second CD. Great takes on some fine songs. "My Granpa is Old Too", is both touching and uplifting.
I still remember David's singing at High School dances in Staten Island NY, in 1967, and it was evident then he had the voice for the Blues. Hope they keep them comin!!"