Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Reviews I'd Forgotten I Had Written of Albums I Had Forgotten Existed (An Occasional Series)

[from the January 1991 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review]


Warren Zevon(vocals, guitar); Peter Buck (guitar);Mike Mills (bass); Bruce Berry (drums).

Walkin' Blues; Travelin' Riverside Blues; Raspberry Beret; Crosscut Saw; Junko Partner; and five others.

GIANT/REPRISE © 24406-4, ® 24406-2 (37 min).

Performance: Deliberately goofy

Recording: Good

This is a sort of busman's-holiday project featuring the (seemingly) unlikely pairing of elder cult-LA folk rocker Warren Zevon with three members of the college-radio rock institution R.E.M. Given the musical pedigrees of all involved, however, what's particularly odd about the album is the repertory, mostly the sort of blues standards that late-Sixties garage bands used to warm up with. In that informal context, the results are entertaining enough. Nobody is ever going to mistake Zevon or the R.E.M.-sters for real blues players, but as a replica of what you or I or any baby boomer or whoever jammed in his parents' basement might have sounded like if they'd been professionally recorded, then Hindu Love Gods has a certain rough-hewn charm. The standout track -- a metallic first-take assault on Prince's "Raspberry Beret" - - is also something of a ringer, but that only adds to the fun. -- S.S

Another record I'd lost in the mists of memory. That said, when that originally came out, I thought it was somewhere between mediocre and lame. And that Warren and R.E.M. were kinda jerking off.

When I listened to it again the other day, however, I thought -- wow, that's really quite cool.


FD13NYC said...

It is quite cool!

jackd said...

If memory serves, Warren and the boys played a couple of unadvertised gigs in Athens, just for sh*ts and grins. (REM had a track record of doing shows like that, including one playing as Hornets Attack Victor Mature.) It was after the shows they decided there was something worth committing to vinyl.