MP3 Adam Carroll - Old Town Rock N Roll
Adam Carroll possesses a sense for detailed narratives, direct unaffected poetics. Balancing ballads of touching depth with odes to rounders, Carroll continually surprises with his delicate turns of phrase. Production kept sparse and raw .
10 MP3 Songs in this album (35:09) !
Related styles: COUNTRY: Americana, FOLK: Folk Blues
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Adam Carroll - Old Town Rock N Roll
CD REVIEW by Steve Circeo, Texas Music Times
I recently drove up to San Marcos to see Adam Carroll at one of the best music venues in all the land, Cheatham Street Warehouse. ...
If you''ve attended an Adam Carroll show, you may have noticed the way he shuffles up to the stage, shyly avoiding eye contact, taking his place at the front of the audience, always seeming a bit surprised that people are actually there to listen to him. I can feel that attitude as I listen to Old Town Rock N Roll. The album is very unassuming, unmistakably humble.
Bubbling beneath this lowkey attitude, though, is an energy that has not been seen before in an Adam Carroll studio record. Much of this album, in fact, was quite obviously recorded live in the studio, as indicated by Adam''s vocalizing “here we go” to indicate to the other players that the end of a tune has arrived. The live band feel helps keep the album exciting, while the variety of Adam''s vocal performances help sustain the interesting sound.
The song “HiFi Love” finds Adam vocally at his most vulnerable. His voice is sweet, but not cloyingly so. He stumbles over the lyrics at one point, just as he does in his live shows, often when he''s composing new lyrics on the spot. Were parts of this album really written as they were recorded? How great is that? There''s a bit in the song about “Cosby fearing, Oprah lovin'', Fat Albert HiFi Love.” Catch one of Adam''s live shows, so you can hear the story behind the lyric.
Loosing himself from the previously necessary reins of Lloyd Maines, who superbly produced Carroll''s first three studio efforts, Adam feels free to experiment a bit more, and, by doing that, it seems to me that is able to establish a better connection with the people paying his bills, his fans. Every minor misstep endears us more to the man who writes those songs we love, reminds us that though he may be able to write a song better than we can, he''s just as human as we are. He is, indeed, just one of us.
I don''t mean to imply with these comments, by the way, that this record sounds like it was recorded through tincan microphones on your dad''s old cassette recorder. There is an element of that, best exemplified in the album''s coda, a raucous cover of “Black Flag Blues” by the record''s producer, Canadian singer-songwriter Scott “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart” Nolan. But for the most part, Old Town Rock N Roll sounds as good, if not better, than any of Carroll''s previous studio records.
As you may expect, wordplay, Adam''s strongsuit, is very evident throughout Old Town Rock N Roll.
“Black Flag Blues” finds Adam at his most playful, a song about pirates, that includes,
“I know a girl from Kentucky,
She rolls pecan logs down at the Stuckey''s.
Long in the tooth with a sideways grin.
She makes me feel worried about the shape I''m in.”
What is notable to me about the lyric is the last phrase, which fits the mood very nicely, but doesn''t fit the meter. Could it have been polished further? Sure. Did it need to be polished before being published? No. I rather enjoy being given this glimpse into the mind of one of my favorite songwriters, catching him in mid-song with, perhaps, unfinished business.
How about this lyric from "Oklahoma Gypsy Shuffler":
“Snorting cocaine off a buck knife.
He was 3-2 drinkin'', singin'' 4-4 time.
Trying hard to get it just right.
With a honkytonk angel hangin'' on every line.”
Juxtaposing “3-2 drinkin''” with “4-4 time” is good enough, but then, wrapping it all up with the women “hangin'' on every line” is simply amazing. How does that wrap things up you ask? Well, tell me this: is that last word, “line,” a reference to a lyric or to the cocaine referenced earlier? Beautiful songwriting.
The song "Rain" includes the phrase “sometimes two adds up to nothing.” The meaning is clear, but the simplicity of the lyric merits further examination. We may have expected the lyric to be, “Sometimes one and one add up to nothing,” a phrase with the same clarity of meaning, plus, as we all know, you must have something and something to add up to anything. But Carroll chooses to simplify the equation and skips a step, eliminating the “1 + 1” calculation and taking us straight to “two adds up to nothing,” which delivers the same irony, but in a much more imaginative way. It seems like a natural progression when I spell it out like this, but who would come up with that? Adam Carroll, that''s who.
While I really enjoy the slightly more polished sheen of Adam''s previous releases, I like Old Town Rock N Roll better than them all, because I am finally able to see Adam for what he really is: a flawed icon, a shiny pan with a bit of rust, plucking gold nuggets from the stream. Old Town Rock N Roll puts Adam Carroll fully on display and he seems to be saying, “I''m really a lot like you. Accept me as I am.” You needn''t be concerned, Adam. We do, we do.