"At some point during "It Goes" I felt shaken from my heart to my toes. By the end of "My Ruins" I was in tears. Carroll is an awesome conduit of the Bard. Rimbaud lives! There are songs and spoken word on this disc. Be warned faint of heat. This will be your most precious of pains. By this CD>"
A Very Deep "Pools of Mercury" = }
don henson | 12/28/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"He's taken his time, and now Jim Carroll's back with smthg new, fresh, and unbelievably powerful. Still love "People Who Died"? Well, this records adds depth and understanding to his past, while maintaining his truth that has kept many of his fans so hooked. The poems are from Void of Course or Fear of Dreaming, and against the intricate background music, they are defined and carefully thought over. There's five rock numbers, and each one is a highlight. Especially check out Falling Down Laughing (#2) and The Beast Within (#14). Jim Carroll personally recommended that i get this cd, and now i'm passing the recommendation to you- "you know, you should get the new cd, i mean, it's got songs on it, not just spoken-word..." [quote Jim Carroll] Get this cd, and get ready to be shocked out of your world! a day's not a day if i don't hear smthg from Pools of Mercury! A definite masterpiece!"
Waivers in the clouds of greatness!
Robert M. Siegel | 02/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a 17 year old I wore the ink off my "Catholic Boy" cassette and found "The Basketball Diaries" hypnotic. I forgot about Jim until I stumbled into "Pools of Mercury". He is a breathing Rimbaud, blessed with musical talent. Buy this CD!"
Jim Carroll's Last, Great Album
Robert M. Siegel | West Newton, MA USA | 11/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a huge Jim Carroll fan when "Catholic Boy" came out in 1980. Smart and raw, it spoke to me in ways that other punk didn't. I dutifully bought "Dry Dreams" and "I Write Your Name" which each had their moments but lacked the punch and uniqueness of the first album. And then life and other interests intervened and I lost track of what else Mr. Carroll had released. When he passed away this fall, I looked up the discography and saw the 1996 release "Pools of Mercury." I had trepidation about paying nearly $30 for a forgotten out of print CD, but I pulled the trigger out of catharsis, closure, and respect.
Oh my god. I don't know how I missed this. It's brilliant.
First, you have to understand that this album is half melopoeia (spoken word backed up by music) and half straight songs. If you recoil from that, don't buy it, but you're denying yourself genius. The bad bongo-playing beat poets gave melopoeia a bad name, but done right it can be stunning. The most accessible example of melopoeia I can think of is The Doors' (the other Jim's) "The Wasp" ("I want to tell you about Texas Radio and the Big Beat"). For extra credit you can listen to Bruce Cockburn's "Hoop Dancer."
On this album, the music behind the spoken word is carefully crafted, rich, dense, and textural. I listened to the album a dozen times before it all soaked in. I still listen to it, over and over.
The title song "Pools of Mercury" is fabulous and sounds like nothing else you've ever heard -- and makes you wish that his second and third albums had this kind of care put into them -- but the best parts of this album are the spoken word. "My Ruins," "I am Not Kurt Schwitters," and "Eight Fragments for Kurt Cobain" are, simply, stunning.
I do have two quibbles. First, Carroll's voice, while clear and strong in the spoken word pieces, is mixed very far back in the songs, making his lyrics very difficult to decipher. And the spoken word piece "Zeno's Paradox of Shoes" -- the second track on the album -- is just silly and out of place.
If you love the literate side of Jim Carroll (meaning more than just "People Who Died"), you'll love this.
Jim, I am sad that there is not more, but this is unique, haunting, and glorious. "