"Downtown is a gem of an album. This being his third album after the peppy and youthful Field Day and self-titled albums, you might expect something of the same. Marshall has taken a very different direction in his songwriting and mood here. But that is not bad just different. It is introspective and sometimes sad, but there always is a beautiful melody to be found.
I bought Downtown when it was originally released and after a while it grew on me to the point of loving it. His later albums save 'What's in the Bag'(another gem) would go back to being more upbeat. I love them all.
Marshall Crenshaw is a wonderful songwriter, guitar player, and singer. I would highly recommend this album and all his others."
Rootsy Music from a Pop Master
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 10/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Long before T-Bone Burnett became so well known ("Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"), he was an artist playing with likes of Bob Dylan and a producer with a name for drawing eclectic performances from artists that matched his style (including Elvis Costello, Los Lobos and the BoDeans, to name a few). Marshall Crenshaw was one such artist to benefit from his touch. Burnett stripped the sound down to its essentials, Crenshaw pitched in with some fervent performances. "Downtown" was also packed with some of Crenshaw's usual excellent songwriting. Future classics like "Blues Is King" and "Like a Vague Memory", along with Ben Vaughn's "I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)" appear here.
Sadly, Crenshaw's momentum had been derailed by the thunderous noise of his underrated "Field Day" and the loss of his original trio-mates Robert Crenshaw and Chris Donato. (Well known session men Mitchell Froom, G.E. Smith, Mickey Curry, Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta provided Crenshaw and Burnett with solid support throughout the disc.) So while the album was firm, it really didn't get the attention it deserved. But if you're a fan of 60's and 50's swinging rock, don't miss the trip to "Downtown.""
D. F. Smith | Loveland, CO United States | 11/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought the album "Downtown" on vinyl about a year after it was released. I listened to it so much my roommate hid the album from me. "Downtown" is a classic, classic album that embodies Crenshaw's strengths for mimicking Buddy Holly and putting a new spin on rockabilly sound in general. I have no doubt that it is T-Bone Burnette's hand in the production of this music that really helps to make this Marshall Crenshaw's best over all work. From the very beginning the album takes off with "Little Wild One (No. 5)" and never stops. The second track "Yvonne" is a mix of Beatles and Buddy Holly and is followed up by "Blues is King" and the phenomenal "Terrifying Love". My other personal favorite is "I'm Sorry (But so is Brenda Lee)" which has a steady beat and woe-fully sung lyrics. Crenshaw has a great ability to write compelling 'hooks' in songs. The chorus that sticks in your mind and leaves you singing it over and over again. This is exceptionally true of this album. I'm a fan of a lot of different types of music and I consider this as a 'Must have' album. There really isn't a bad song on the disc. A few years ago I saw Crenshaw in a small venue in a solo performance. He played a variety of songs from the 50's and early 60's along with his hits: "Someday, Someway", "Cynical Girl" and "Whenever You're on My Mind", but when he played "Little Wild One", it was the highlight of the concert. I'd love to be able to find a recording of his solo concerts. Peole have had a hard time placing him because his music styles from album to album are so varied, but that's what makes him great. If you don't know Crenshaw, "Downtown" is a great introduction to his music."
Downtown is worth a look
Steve O. | 11/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I do not enjoy Downtown as much as Mary Jean & 9 Others and the self-titled debut...I must say there is still lots of good stuff here. Marshall turned off the compression machine after Field Day and put out a good little rockabilly, country, power pop album here! I really think Marshall needs to embrace what made him so endearing and get back to his guitar orientated, rockin', Buddy Hollyish ways...his last couple of albums have been awful (see: #447 and What's In The Bag?) He should put out an album that takes elements from the first album, Mary Jean, and Miracle of Science...add a Buddy Holly cover tune and whoolah!!! Marshall would win over the masses!!