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Jonathan Richman


Jonathan Richman – "Action Packed: The Best of Jonathan Richman"
(Rounder Heritage)

It’s hard to believe that Boston’s favorite musical adolescent is old enough for a ‘greatest hits’ collection (let alone a release on Rounder Heritage). Having "grown up in the time of ‘Louie Louie’ and ‘Little Latin Lupe Loo,’ Richman takes musical, lyrical and bilingual cues from these simple circles, letting every bit of youthful indiscretion shine through his rockabilly bouncers. Though most of these 22 songs offer three-chords-and-the-truth (however odd), it is the things in between that give this album (and its chief composer) their charm. From impromptu self-interruptions to elucidate on his situation and international local references meant to connect with his clubby fans to sudden stylistic changes meant to demonstrate his own musical inspirations, Richman touches on a variety of topics and styles in a consistently touching style. The adulterous slink of "The Neighbor," the linguistically challenged "When I Say Wife" and the gender-bending "I Was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar" offer comical confessions about Jonathan’s infamously twisted love life. Other hot topics include wanderlust ("Reno," "You’re Crazy for Taking the Bus") and a dating scene that could be described as interesting, to say the least ("Since She Started to Ride," "Vampire Girl"). However, whether taking from his own life or from the likes of Tom Waits ("The Heart of Saturday Night"), Jonathan makes each song a personal exploration that everyone is invited to join.

- Matthew S. Robinson
c. 2002, M. S. Robinson, ARR


©2003-2005 Boston Beats





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