ROCK & REPRISE.NET
I should be in bed. I need my beauty sleep. I was headed there but thought I'd give this Craig Elkins album another listen because what I heard this afternoon was a bit unsettling and I figured maybe I'd better hear it one more time before cashing my chips in for the night. That was three hours ago. That second listen was a bit less unsettling, but I have to tell you I'm not really sure what to make of i love you. Let me give you an example. The last track: Human Drag. Dig these lyrics: “Being a fuckin' human can be a really big fuckin' drag/Especially when you have to listen to somebody tootin' their own fuckin' horn/Talkin' about they did this and they said that and oh no she di'n't/Bein' a fuckin' human can really be a fuckin' drag.” Seriously? I mean, if that isn't a train wreck, I don't know what is.
But, see, here's the thing. Somehow, and don't ask me (fuckin') how, it works. This Elkins guy has a way of putting over not only those lyrics but all of the lyrics on the album, and maybe they aren't all as out there as this, but they're plenty out there nonetheless. It's almost as if he spent a night in a Brooklyn diner and recorded everyone and went home and typed it out. Swear to God.
I should have known I was in for it when it started out, “I been thinkin' about offin' myself.” I mean, I should have run for the hills. First thing I thought was how in the hell am I going to write about this? And it doesn't stop. This is conversational music and Elkins makes sure you get it. It's like he's a (fuckin') stranger at the diner and he is (fuckin') talking to you but he doesn't (fuckin') talk, he (fuckin') sings! Okay, maybe all the songs are not quite that extreme, but you get the idea. Hell, he even has a song titled I Can't Stop Being a Dick!
And it's three in the morning and I am tired but I can't stop listening. Sometimes it is just Elkins and guitar and sometimes it's a full band, but it doesn't matter. The guy has something I can't quite put my finger on and it's driving me nuts. I want to say it has a bit of a Long John Baldry feel to it, about It Ain't Easy time, but his voice isn't quite that good, you know? But the more I listen, the more it doesn't matter. I can honestly say that after five straight listens tonight, I don't want another voice. I don't want another band.
The band itself is a throwback to the seventies--- solid rock and ready to jam at the drop of a hat. I saw one such example years ago. Rick Nelson played the Evergreen County Fair in Monroe, Washington, supporting his Playin' To Win album and he had this band of young rockers who wanted to play. Nelson ended his set with one of the songs from the album and while the band kept playing, Nelson signed autographs off the front of the stage. When he exited, the band kept going. And going. And going. Finally, Nelson came out and sang another verse and then signed more autographs. It was a solid half hour and the band didn't miss a note. That's the sense I get when I hear Elkins' Tell 'em My Story. Like the band could go on forever.
You know, I'm beginning to wonder if maybe Elkins doesn't have something here. Sometimes lyrics reflect a thing rather than describe it. Maybe Elkins reflects the every day, the common man. And then again, I could just be looking for something that isn't there. That's what this album is doing to me. Tell you what, you listen to the album. Then you write the review. I don't feel like writing. I feel like listening.
I will tell you one thing. This isn't a needle drop album. You have to hear it and the more you hear it, the more you're going to like it--- or you're obviously a card-carrying member of the Tea Party. Genius? Hell if I know. I only know that if you give only one odd album a chance this year, let this be the one. You may hate it, but if you stick it out this might be the find you've been searching for. I've found couple. Thomas Jefferson Kaye. Phillip Goodhand-Tait. And here comes I Can't Stop Being a Dick again and I can't help liking it even more than last time. Definitely a winner of the Linus Multiple Listening Award.
This album isn't scheduled for release until July 10th. I think that sucks. This is an album you need in the flesh--- physical product. Makes me think iTunes is behind it. I hate iTunes. I hate iEverything. If you have to have it, download it when it becomes available, but download it from someone who cares about the artist and the music. Or wait for the CD. As much as the money-grubbing idiots would like to you to believe it, the CD is not gone. And music like this deserves to have a visual as well as a musical impact (I'm talking about the CD jacket, Ferd). The jacket isn't much, but it does have writing on it--- and a couple of pictures too.
And to think, all this time I thought Huffamoose was a childrens TV program. And if you don't know what that means, you have as much research to do as I do.
Frank O. Gutch Jr.