Marshall Crenshaw is hard to describe, maybe a sort of rockabilly singer/guitarist who issued numerous albums in the 1980s. We now proudly bring back four of his out-of-print releases on CD. Field Day reached # 52 on the c... more »harts in 1983. 10 tracks. Wounded Bird. 2005.« less
Marshall Crenshaw is hard to describe, maybe a sort of rockabilly singer/guitarist who issued numerous albums in the 1980s. We now proudly bring back four of his out-of-print releases on CD. Field Day reached # 52 on the charts in 1983. 10 tracks. Wounded Bird. 2005.
"After his first, eponymous album, Marshall Crenshaw was on the verge of becoming a seriously major pop star. But "Field Day" ended all that. It is one of the most infuriating and unfair stories in all of rock history. Crenshaw has gone on to record 7 or 8 additional albums of original songs, but with sales and therefore budgets dwindling further each time.
A couple of the reviews below express complaints about the "sound" of "Field Day," and suggest the "overproduction" was what killed this album and thus Crenshaw's title shot. I completely disagree. The sound was, and is, thrilling--an update to the Phil Spector-Brian Wilson approach to recording, sort of a hybrid of the 60s 'wall of sound' with the 70s heavy metal sound of, say, Led Zeppelin or Crenshaw's early heroes, the MC5. This production approach perfectly captures what Crenshaw often aimed for in his early career--the intelligence and craft of a Brian Wilson, but with a stronger punch. It is also reminiscent of the thick drum and bass sound the Beatles applied to many recordings, particularly on the White Album and "Abbey Road."
None of that would matter if the songs weren't utterly great. Utterly great. This is one of the true masterpieces of the pop-rock form. "Our Town," "Whenever You're On My Mind," "For Her Love," "One Day With You," and "Monday Morning Rock" are among the finest rock songs and performances ever, songs that build from simple, clever tunes into epic roars of passion. "Field Day" reaches in the same direction as Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run,"--an artist's mad pursuit of the three-minute song that says...everything.
There were members of the rock press who had it in for Crenshaw when this came out. The Rolling Stone review of "Field Day" was vicious. It appears that the review might have been payback, not against Crenshaw himself, but against a media rep who offended somebody at the lordly magazine. This was when (don't laugh) Rolling Stone actually mattered, influencing sales as well as perceived hipness. Crenshaw never really got another chance. People read that review and figured Crenshaw was a flash in the pan. I remember reading it and thinking, "How bad could it really be?" I've never stopped listening to it since.
The other albums in the reissue series range in quality. "Downtown" is quite good, but as if in reaction to the "Field Day" alleged mistake, it is very stripped down. "Mary Jean and 9 Others" is a little better--richer in sound. "Good Evening" is probably his worst album, but it's not all bad. It was obviously the product of burn-out and a desire to end a record contract. His work since then, though not given the star treatment, has been consistently wonderful, but is ignored by all but fans like me. Nothing would make me happier than this reissue series leading to a major rediscovery and reappraisal of Crenshaw's value. I'm not holding my breath, but the music warrants it."
Overlooked pop-rock masterpiece
J. Evans | WilmyWood USA | 11/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After touting Crenshaw as "the next big thing" following his self-titled debut, Rolling Stone and most other rock rags abandoned him with his 2nd release, "Field Day". This was a curious move, since this sophomore album is not only his best, but is one of the all-time great pop-rock records. Somehow, Crenshaw must have been perceived as no longer cool by critics. The album is one of those not truly appreciated on first listen, but given proper attention, reveals itself as not only a COLLECTION of great songs, but wonderful as a whole: powerpop with DEPTH. I've read that one of the reasons the album was dismissed by critics upon its release was the marked change in production over the first album. The debut had stripped-down guitar/bass/drums/ vocals up front, but "Field Day" has the Steve Lillywhite trademark huge snare, odd percussive sounds in the background, and a general drenching in reverb. And it works. If you enjoy guitar-based songwriting, good melodies, and inventive arrangements, buy this album and listen to it at least 3 times before forming an opinion; you'll be rewarded."
Outstanding pop music! Crenshaw's best album!
Mark Wukas | 08/01/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of all Crenshaw's albums, this one comes closest to perfection in his quest for pop tunes capturing the highs and lows of love. From the exuberant "Whenever You're On My Mind" to the gut-wrenching "All I Know Right Now," Marshall writes songs that touch a deep chord in our hearts. Smart lyrics, great tunes -- you can't ask for more. Try playing it right after "Marshall Crenshaw," his initial release. There's a continuity between the two albums that makes me think they could have been a double album. They're both great, but I think "Field Day" is the better album. It's Crenshaw's "Pet Sounds." Buy it. You'll never take it from your "heavy rotation" CD pile. I haven't. Not a week has gone by when I haven't played it since it came out 15 years ago."
Field Day Stands the Test of Time
Gregory F. Herrin | Charlotte, NC | 10/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album to me, is a great one. I originally got it on cassette back in 1983 when it came out. Then a few years later, I bought it used on vinyl because my tape wore out. Now, just recently, I purchased it on cd. If that isn't a testament to how good it is, I don't know what is. I really prefer this recording to the debut cd put out by Crenshaw. The thing that strikes me about this cd is how well the songs flow together. Especially, the first four songs which are just unbelievable. "Whenever You're on My Mind" was the one big single from this cd, but there really could have been a lot more. The first song seamlessly flows into the second song, "Our Town", which keeps your attention and rocks well. Then that flows into "One More Reason" very well. "One More Reason" has a cool background guitar sound to it. That song flows very well into "Try" which could have been released in the 60's if not for its exceptional sound quality. I like every one of the songs on this cd a lot.This recording has been accused of being overproduced in the past. 80's studio master Steve Lillywhite produced it. But, being a Lillywhite fan, I always thought it had a great sound to it. Plus, it brings back a flood of memories about the Summer of 1983 and more. I always associated a kind of pure, naive, maybe slightly melancholy but melodic feel to this cd. All and all this is a great cd that holds up well no matter how long it has been since it was released."