Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Back Home

Over the weekend I took a rare post-Thanksgiving trip to be with friends and family in Philadelphia, leaving behind my patient wife and beautiful daughter. I had lots of good food, caught up with my friend and her cute 8-month old daughter and, of course, went record shopping.

One thing I picked up was Richard Thompson’s “Grizzly Man” soundtrack. A lot of people are calling this a return to form, but I think these same people haven’t listened to anything Richard Thompson has done in the past 15 years. Most recently “Mock Tudor” and “The Old Kit Bag” were excellent conflations of his folk past and pop instincts, with a distinctly contemporary bent. This year’s “Front Parlour Ballads” is the closest he’s come to what some probably consider his classic material, and I think it’s pretty dull. So there you go.

Anyway, the instrumental “Grizzly Man” is Thompson at his best as a player, which he rarely is less than. I’m excited about next year’s boxed set.

The biggest surprise came with two Phil Manzanera solo albums, “6pm” and “50 Minutes Later,” each featuring most of the rest of Roxy Music, plus Brian Eno, Chrissie Hynde and Robert Wyatt. Manzanera’s playing is strong, but he’s become a pretty great songwriter. I’m not sure how to categorize the discs, but they’re hardly prog or the mood music of Roxy’s later years, closer to the quirks of Eno’s pop albums and Wyatt’s artily introspective solo discs.


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