Not your usual Michelle Shocked approach, but good!
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 04/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michelle Shocked certainly shocked a lot of fans with this tribute to swing music. While some think her vocal style doesn't fit swing, it's a testament to her voice that she sounds just great here--even if you prefer her on country/folky stuff more than on swing, you have to admit that she sounds wonderful and her joy in the music comes across amply."God is a Real Estate Developer" is a weirdly titled swing tune that opens the album, and things get even stranger with "On the Greener Side," a samba-influenced tune that somehow reminds me of Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecilia" with its lickety-split beat and hummability. Strange, yes, but this is still great stuff! On "Silent Ways" Shocked harkens back to her bluegrassy roots with a sly, witty song about sex--"loving in a silent way" as opposed to the words her lover pleads for. Shocked manages to convey a smile at her lyrics almost better than any other singer out there today:"When you asked me,
'Michelle, do you love me?'
I didn't know what to say
So I just laid down beside you and
I loved you in a silent way.
And when you asked me to forgive you
For all your cheating days
I just laid down beside you and
Forgave you in a silent way.
Silence is golden
Words are made of lead
And in the alchemy of love
Some things are better left unsaid.""Streetcorner Ambassador" ROCKS with a propulsive beat and Shocked's incisive portrait of what goes on in the streets near her apartment. "Too Little Too Late" provides an aural impression of Shocked lolling atop an upright piano in the middle of a saloon, flicking her feather boa back and forth lazily as she sings.Once again, Shocked includes the lyrics for only some of the songs, not all of them--odd, but what the heck, if you don't mind that, this is a wonderfully strong album and a departure for Shocked. Good for her for having the strength of her convictions to try something a little offbeat."
The same only more so
oldbollweevil | Tokyo | 09/20/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's an interesting experiment, but her voice and style simply don't fit swing. She sounds shrill where she should sound soulful, strident where she should sound slinky. The closer to jazz/swing she gets the more the listener cringes--"Streetcorner Ambassador" and "Cement Lament." Ouch.That said, I first of all have to commend her ambition--with her next album it became clear that she was trying to do nothing less than explore all facets of old American music, of which swing/jazz was a big part. Second, I have to say that not all of the songs here by any means fit that description. Little Sister is a great rockabilly/blues type number, and Mona Lisa's Having a Bad Day is a great step forward in her songwriting. And occasionally the experiments work--Must Be Luff is just crazy enough, with that Dixieland sound, to be a lot of fun.It'd be nice to see this rereleased."
Just Listen and Enjoy
Kurt Harding | Boerne TX | 05/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had heard of Michelle Shocked but had never heard her until I heard a couple of cuts from this CD on the radio while driving through central Arizona. I liked what I heard so when I got home I sought it out at my favorite music store.
It was enjoyed but forgotten until recently when my eye caught the label as I was going through my wall of CDs looking for some stuff I hadn't heard in a while.
Despite it being nearly ten years since I bought the CD, I have still not heard any of her other music so I have no points of comparison it. It doesn't matter to me that she is considered a folk/country/bluegrass musician. I like her fine in her guise as a swingmeister. My favorites here are the opening cut God Is A Real Estate Developer, the sexy, slinky and romantic Silent Ways, the bluesy Sleep Keeps Me Awake, Looks Like Mona Lisa, Too Little Too Late, the horn-driven swinger Must Be Luff and an unnamed/unlisted acoustical bonus piece at the end (possibly entitled Russian Roulette) that features some excellent guitar work.
There is enough musical variety here to make anyone happy. If you are taken aback because Captain Swing does not sound like the Michelle Shocked you are used to, don't be. Just listen to it and enjoy!"
A Different Sound for a Consistently Different Artist
Avalon Don | 02/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michelle Shocked delivers a CD that is filled with a variety of fun-filled tunes with that sound that is all her. Her lyrics combined with her incredible voice make this a MUST HAVE Michelle Shocked album for any fan. I love to listen to this one on every road trip I take."
MICHELLE BEING MICHELLE
Avalon Don | Huntington Beach, California United States | 07/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I prefer Shocked sticking more with her strength which is Country, Folk and Rockabilly. This release though solidified her genius in music. Michelle didn't take the safe route and was years ahead of Brian Setzer, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Royal Crown Revue doing Swing/Rock before the late 90's craze. A couple of her better songs are only found here. "Sleep Keeps Me Awake" is a roof raising Blues number showcasing Michelle's vocal range by over powering a horn section. "Looks Like Mona Lisa" is arguably her best pop song with a nice story. "Captain Swing" was not a commercial sellout, it's Michelle being creative and rebelling against any categorizing of her music. It makes for a good addition if you already own "Self Sharp Shocked", "Arkansas Traveler" and "The Texas Campfire Tapes". I hope somebody does the right thing and this cd gets reissued."