By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
No, she hasn't regained her sense of humor, but aren't you fast losing yours? "I'm no Sufi but I'll give it a whirl" makes light enough of the mystic path her political obsessions follow. And if sometimes her hymns vague out like "Trespasses" or over-generalize like "Jubilee," the boho reminisce of "In My Blakean Year" represents where she's coming from, the sweet solemnity of "Gandhi" and "Peaceable Kingdom" sings the sacred, and the amateur-Arabist rant-and-release of "Radio Baghdad" speaks poetry to power. It won't prevail. But it's a comfort. B PLUS
HOUND DOG TAYLOR
Release the Hound
Live and redundantsix of 15 titles also on best-of, almost all on the three studio albums. But none on his 1976 live set. And who do you prefer when it comes to redundantthe laid-off prole who gets the job done night in and night out or the college-educated goon who pronounces him excessed? Taylor had less class than a metal-shop teacher in a finishing school, and he always believed that making music was the same thing as having fun. Few artists in any genre, most certainly including the dogged bar blues he inspired, have generated such effortless enthusiasm or made ruder noises with an amplifier. His studio legacy is pretty rough. But live he was even rougher, and with him that means better more often than not. A MINUS
WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN: POOR MAN'S HEAVEN
As music, the sixth volume in this all-over-the-place RCA series is even more all over the place. But by segregating the showbiz folk up ahead of the folk musicians, it suggests that citified pop dreamers were even angrier about the Great Depression than the rural immiserated. Jug-blowing Mississippi Sarah moaning "this depression has got me," the Cedar Creek Sheik denied credit in his Afro-Swedish accent, and Blind Alfred Reed entering heaven with "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" are all hard hit. But they aren't as bitter as Bob Miller, whose 7,000 published songs included "The Rich Man and the Poor Man" ("Oh the rich man gets acquitted while the poor man gets the rope") and "It Must Be Swell" (death, he means). Between categories is the jazzified title tune by country pro Carson Robinson, which craves not just relief but revenge. Not that I myself would want some number cruncher serving me breakfast. But with a little training maybe he or she could do my filing. A MINUS
Dud of the Month
So Much for the City
If an Americana disaffected suburban boy from the professional class, saywere to concoct this sentimental cutesification of surf and country-rock, drawl and harmony and whisper and mewl, it would be even harder to forgive. Americans have an obligation to comprehend their own culture. But there's something in Conor Deasy's timbre that renders his Dublin version even more saccharine in its artifice. The cure for what ails him? I dunno. A quick chop to the Adam's apple? C
Additional Consumer News
Considering . . .
The kind of young band that's doubly convincing on tunes it can't quite handle ("Open," "Don't Like the Way")
BOOKER T. & THE MG'S
Never Before Available Covers of 25 of Your Favorite '60s Hits! ("Harlem Shuffle," "Downtown")
Van Lear Rose
Are we allowed to wonder whether she's spunky enough for a Nashville legend with a new lease on life? ("Red Shoes," "Story of My Life")
MISSION OF BURMA
On Off On
Easy for abstractionists to pick up where they left off, hard for them to represent ("Nicotine Bomb," "Fake Blood")
"History will show our progress is slow," so they make sure their music isn't ("A Stare Like Yours," "Remember Today").
From Chicano r&b to Chicano bricolage and most of the way back, with famous friends pointing the way ("Kitate," "Hurry Tomorrow")
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF THE INDIAN OCEAN
(World Music Network import)
Tourist attractions of half a dozen competing island paradises (Seychelles String Band, "Polka"; Kaya, "Sensé")
Rock N Roll
Sound effects, emotional affects, he's got 'em all ("Note to Self: Don't Die," "This Is It").
The Pretty Toney Album
Don't worry, Ghostno matter how much you cry we'll never call you "faggot" ("Be This Way," "Save Me Dear").
Why hip-hop heads worship Premier ("In This Life . . . ," "Who Got Gunz")
LAS RUBIAS DEL NORTE
Before you say rumba wasn't meant to be this civilized, study danzón("Perfidia," "Ambrosa Guajiro").
EYEDEA & ABILITIES
Especially abilities ("One Twenty," "Kept")
"Get Down With It," "Rocking Chair"
Get Down With It: The Okeh Sessions
"Do U Like It?"
Love Is Hell Pt. 1
Love Is Hell Pt. 2
THE SLEEPY JACKSON
Silence Is Easy
Logic Will Break Your Heart
It's All Around You
WOMEN OF AFRICA
(Putumayo World Music)