Alternate "rejected" mix exhilarating
pogo | Halifax, NS Canada | 04/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Verlaine fan for over twenty years, even putting down the cash for the original CD version of this, his terrific solo debut. (Yes, it was indeed released previously on CD as a German import, with lyrics hilariously mis-transcribed in the liner notes by "Stanley"). When I read that the Collector's Choice version had the ORIGINAL mix, which I'd read about as a bootleg, I immediately bought it online for that very reason.
Comparing the two mixes shows that Bob Clearmountain, called in to clean things up back in '79, beefed up the bottom and smoothed the edges. The "new" alternate mix is hard to listen to uncritically at first; it initially sounds rawer, particularly the vocals. But the details are fascinating, and keep pulling me back for more -- so much so that I now prefer some of the alternate. Catch Verlaine's own revelatory mix of "Breakin' in My Heart," for instance. Clearmountain's mix, though a tremendous song, doesn't prepare you for the amazing sonic cross-currents Verlaine was able to put down in the studio. The actual SOUND seems three-dimensional. His guitar is edgier, with more bite, the harmonics are more complex. Jay Dee Daugherty's drumming is like thunder come down to earth (ditto Allen Schwartzberg on "Kingdom Come" -- Verlaine says in the liner notes that he had "never played with a drummer so powerful and loud." I've always loved that way the cymbal figure at the beginning folds into the song).
Not every difference is worthwhile; "Red Leaves," for instance, sounds washed out. But considering how important Verlaine's sound -- not just his playing -- has been for thousands of musicians and fans, it's a wonderful treat to hear the alternative.
**LATER NOTE: THIS MIX IS NO LONGER ON THIS CD -- STILL A GREAT DISC, THOUGH**"
S. Finefrock | Raleigh, NC | 03/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tom Verlaine will always have Television' s great MARQUEE MOON shining over his shoulder as an unapproachable yardstick to measure against his work. It's a little unfair, because it has taken away from Television's solid follow up album ADVENTURE and caused many of his fine solo albums to fall under the shadow of his 1977 classic. I guess you need to ask, how many works by other artists do measure up to MARQUEE MOON before getting too down on an excellent album such as this?
Veraline is obviously trying to define some new directions on this, his solo debut. Sometimes he suceeds with breathtaking material, and other times he is not as successful. Still any album that contains first rate material like the poetic, guitar workout BREAKING MY HEART, THE GRIP OF LOVE and KINGDOM COME (later covered by David Bowie) can't be less than top shelf. This edition issued by Collectors Choice includes some enlightening liner note by Verlaine detailing the sessions and some of the ideas that went into this recording. All in all it's a very strong set by one of musics great gutarists and one of it's underrated singer-songwriters."
MoogleFan | 01/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being that Tom Verlaine is one of the most talented and unique musicians that I know of, it is hard to imagine why his solo material is almost never mentioned anywhere, aside from diehard Television fans. Both Television and Tom Verlaine's solo work has long been critically acclaimed, but why don't more people know about it? Utterly perplexing though it is, the reader of this article appears to have luckily stumbled upon it!
Tom Verlaine's self-titled debut album appears to be a more personal reflection than in Television. Being that nothing could probably ever top the epic "Marquee Moon", Tom Verlaine successfully distanced himself from that album in his solo work. His lyrics are perhaps more poetic, his singing voice is better defined, and the instrumentation is fairly minimal, unlike the complex and layered approach of his former band. Television bassist Fred Smith appears throughout the album, as well as The B-52's Ricky Wilson on guitar for the last track. All the tracks are well-thought-out and enjoyable to listen to (though my most favorite is probably "Souvenir from a Dream").
Anyone who likes Television should buy Tom Verlaine's solo material; this album and any of the others!"