Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Closed on Account of Rabies: Poems and Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
One of the true marks of a horror artist is to create something that is at once completely terrifying and utterly fascinating. It's not about blood, guts, and gore, as anyone who's ever seen Psycho could tell you, but abou... more »
One of the true marks of a horror artist is to create something that is at once completely terrifying and utterly fascinating. It's not about blood, guts, and gore, as anyone who's ever seen Psycho could tell you, but about suspense, story, and the characters themselves. Edgar Allan Poe's stories rank as some of the greatest horror ever written--and that's before the likes of Iggy Pop, Diamanda Galás, Abel Ferrara, and Christopher Walken (chilling, as he reads from "The Raven") got their hands--er, voices--on Poe's words. This two-disc compilation is a success if only for treating Poe's texts in the right manner, with subtle backing music and sounds and restrained, ominous performances from the readers (other fine readings come from Ken Nordine, Dr. John, and Jeff Buckley). One reason for the album's quality may be producer Hal Willner; if you enjoy this, you might also want to check out his work on Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus, The Carl Stalling Project, Vol. 1, and Spare Ass Annie. --Randy Silver
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What a spectacular period seven assembly this could be!!
ROGER L. FOREMAN | Bath, Maine | 02/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These kinds of tribute albums are always tricky, even when they are just dealing with a musician's body of work. What Hal Willner has done on this two-CD set is amazing, though. To try to collect the pieces from Edgar Allan Poe's eclectic catalog of stories and poetry, find the write artists to read, sing, and/or interpret those works, and then to package it all appropriately was a major feat. Every track is not a five-star work, but the collection earns the five stars for sheer effort and uniqueness. From the cover art by Ralph Steadman, appropriately weird and spooky-looking, to the fabulous liner notes by Charles Baudelaire and Willner, himself, this CD set has been an indispensable part of my Grade 11 English (American Literature) curriculum since its release.Everyone is going to have his or her favorite tracks/stories/poems, but here are mine:
1. Gabriel Byrne reading "The Masque of the Red Death" -- great accent, cool music and background noises; nicely understated, Byrne lets the story tell itself.
2. Diamanda Galas reading "The Black Cat" -- smoking five packs a day does pay off for some people. . . . I almost wet my pants when I first heard her read the opening line of the story.
3. Dr. John reading "Berenice" -- not the typical Poe selection, very cool New Orleans accent and grovely voice.
4. Iggy Pop reading "The Tell-Tale Heart" -- classic story, great voice and interpretation.
5. Marianne Faithfull reading "Alone" -- again, great voice and creepy effects.I'm leaving out Ken Nordine, Jeff Buckley, and Christopher Walken, all of whom turn in outstanding performances.Weak points aside, this CD earns five stars for the total package. The cover art is very cool, the liner notes are very interesting and informative, the sound production is superb, and a vast majority of the renditions maximize Poe's eccentricities and creepy weirdness. The musical artists and actors put themselves somewhat at risk with these alternative performances, and their risks pay off big time! If you are a fan of Poe, this is a must-have CD set. If you are a fan of any of the performers, you likely won't be disappointed either. If you are just a fan of creative and alternative works, this is well worth a try. Everybody wins!"
An Amazing Tribute to Poe
Diana-lynn Roston | Los angeles,CA United States | 08/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a Poe fan, this is a must for your collection. The title, taken from a recent theory that Poe died of rabies contracted after a dog bite, is just the beginning of the creativity behind these CDs. Christopher Walken's reading of "The Raven" is second only to Vincent Price. Iggy Pop's rendition of "A Tell-Tale Heart" is chilling, to say the least, and is definitely worth getting the CDs for. I love listening to the stories and poems on a regular basis, and have a great time setting up the fog machine and blasting these CDs from my stereo on Halloween.I also use this in my classroom every year. Poe, in general, is great for helping resistant students discover a love of literature and this CD is specifically responsible for creating readers out of some of my most unwilling students. While I am not too fond of the musical tracks on these CDs, my students enjoy them very much and they have inspired some of them to set Poe's work to their own music. All in all, I truly feel as if I've gotten my money's worth from these CD's and find them to be both enjoyable and useful."
An Excursion into the Ambiance of Homicidal Insanity
Michael Hoffman | Idaho, USA | 07/18/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Poe, in spite of the fame and adulation directed at him these days, has seldom been interpreted with any degree of success on either vinyl or CD. Basil Rathbone did a workman-like job with "The Masque of Red Death" decades ago, but even he fell short of the hysteria and ecstasy Poe should invoke. The CD under consideration, "Closed on Account of Rabies" (a silly title taken from a Sept. 15, 1996 NY Times story about a crackpot hypothesis regarding Poe's death), is mostly more of the same. Christopher Walken gives "The Raven" a rendition that sounds like an Umberto's Clamhouse wise guy on valium. Gabriel Byrne makes the aforementioned "Masque of Red Death" as much of a chore to hear as it must have been for him to record, and so it goes through much of the Poe repertoire covered here.
So why does this disk have an honored placed in my collection? Due to the presence of one lone track, Diamanda Galas' performance of "The Black Cat." Before you think me far too improvident with the coin of the realm, consider that the Galas reading is over a half-hour in length (almost 37 minutes to be exact). In that time, one is transported on a greased chute straight into the 13th floor of Poe's darkness, dementia and obsession. Galas' rendition of "The Black Cat" is as intense an excursion into the ambiance of homicidal insanity as one is likely to encounter this side of a jail cell.
Even more gratifying to Poe scholars is the fact that Galas groks Poe's bizarre but highly disciplined mentality. G.K. Chesterton said that madhouses were not stocked so much with empty-headed people as with people who think too much. One glance at the size of Poe's forehead should give some indication of the extent to which he was haunted by a surfeit of thought, on the razor edge between genius and insanity. Poe walked that edge in "The Black Cat" and Diamanda Galas gives voice to it with unforgettable sympathy, power and authority. True Poe fans will rejoice. Those who imagine themselves qualified to read Poe in public would do well to harken to Galas with the humility of the apprentice."