STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 47322-14264 LABEL: Nonesuch FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
I have to confess that in the larger scheme of things, I always make a point of buying anything that T Bone Burnett releases because generally the man is a genius! I am used to his switches in style, his eccentric and creative songwriting and fabulous production skills. This is an album inspired by the play of the same name by Sam Sheppard though not having seen the play I'm not totally sure how it all fits in. Accompanied by his usual cohorts including Marc Ribot on guitar, Jim Keltner on drums and his ex-wife Sam Phillips contributing vocals, the whole album has a melancholy darkness surrounding it, presumably dictated by the subject matter of the play. It's a curious and challenging collection of songs and definitely uneasy listening though there are a couple of moments that really work for me. The opening "Anything I Say Can And Will Be Used Against You" has a superb twangyness about it and the usual smart lyrics and characteristic T Bone deadpan vocal delivery. The emotive yet understated "Kill Zone" is fabulous and was co-written with the late Roy Orbison in the '80s and was one of the last things he did. To be honest, a lot of this feels unlistenable in a conventional sense. It's well crafted, well written but ultimately deliberately disturbing. You have to admire Burnett's bravery, although he never has been an artist who has followed the crowd when it comes to his recordings.
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