Saturday, November 15, 2008

by Franco

Eric Andersen - Beat Avenue (2003)

Beat Avenue is 60-year-old Eric Andersen's most ambitious album, a 90-minute tour de force that encapsulates his musical and lyrical concerns over a lifetime. The music is often-dense rock dominated by a rhythm section led by guitarist Eric Bazilian of the Hooters. Equally dense is Andersen's highly poetic versifying, which he sings in his gruff baritone. Andersen is world-weary in these songs, roaming the globe haunted by the past and fearful of the future. He confesses to a reckless youth, but acknowledges that he can no longer afford such license. "What once was Charles Bukowski," he sings in "Before Everything Changed," referring to the free-living beat poet, "is now Emily Dickinson." The ballads and love songs "Song of You and Me," "Shape of a Broken Heart," "Under the Shadows," and "Still Looking for You" are rendered tenderly, but they are also full of regret and loss, past-tense reflections that recount memories of love long gone. The first disc of Beat Avenue is complete and formidable unto itself, but there is a second CD consisting of two lengthy songs. The title track, running more than 26 minutes, is a beat poem with jazzy accompaniment by Robert Aaron in which Andersen recalls a poetry reading he attended as a 20-year-old on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac come up in his reminiscence, along with friends and fellow musicians, as he conjures up the sound and feel of the early '60s in San Francisco and pinpoints a moment when history changed, revealing how it felt for one young observer. This isn't folk music of the type with which Andersen is generally associated, and it can be demanding of the listener, but it is also a compelling transformation of memory into art song. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

Eric Andersen - The Street Was Always There (2004)

This is the first of a projected two-volume set by singer/songwriter Eric Andersen showcasing the songs of his youth, by some of its best-known as well as all-but-forgotten songwriters from the New York Greenwich Village scene of the early- to mid-'60s. There are modern versions of classics, like Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier," Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," Tim Hardin's "Misty Roses," Fred Neil's "The Other Side of This Life," and Phil Ochs' "I Ain't Marching Anymore." There are tunes that are now considered obscure, too, such as Paul Siebel's "Louise," David Blue's "These 23 Days in September," Patrick Sky's "Many a Mile," Peter La Farge's "Johnny Half-Breed." There's also a pair of originals, in the title track and "Waves of Freedom." Interestingly, in spite of all this company, the most convincing tune on the set is "Waves of Freedom" by Andersen himself. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide



Blogger hodagg said...

what a gift, getting all this Eric Andersen stuff! Thanks a bunch!!

16 November, 2008 11:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Links?

27 December, 2010 06:25  

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