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Black Diamond

Stan RidgwayVinyl
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Price: $17.32 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2007 $8.99  
Audio CD, 1995 $11.58  
Vinyl, 2012 $17.32  

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Music

Image of album by Stan Ridgway

Photos

Image of Stan Ridgway

Videos

"The Drowning Man "  /  Mr. Trouble  /  A440 Records

Biography

It's been a long and influential road for the songwriter/guitarist and original Wall Of Voodoo vocalist. His darkly humorous, and richly cinematic musical tales of the ironies inside the American Dream have been compared to other classic songwriting iconoclasts like Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and even hard boiled mystery writers like Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson, as well as ... Read more in Amazon's Stan Ridgway Store

Visit Amazon's Stan Ridgway Store
for 19 albums, 8 photos, videos, discussions, and more.

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Product Details

  • Vinyl (July 17, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Birdcage Records
  • ASIN: B007Y1S0JG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,282 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Big Dumb Town
2. Gone The Distance
3. Knife And Fork
4. Down The Coast Hwy
5. Luther Played Guitar
6. Stranded
7. Wild Bill Donovan
8. Man Of Stone
Disc: 2
1. Pink Parakeet
2. Underneath The Big Green Tree
3. As I Went Out One Morning
4. Crystal Palace
5. Hear That Bird
6. Here For The Long Run
7. The Need (Live)
8. Squintin' At The Sun (Live)

Editorial Reviews

(2-LP set) Double vinyl, beautiful black-on-black jackets, obi strip. First time ever on vinyl for Stan's first solo album on an indie label (after albums for IRS, Geffen, and Capitol) from 1995, with 4 bonus vinyl only tracks! The former Wall of Voodoo singer spins strange and surreal tales that keep you up at night. This album challenges more than a few of the assumptions that have been made about Stan Ridgway as a songwriter. Stan himself calls it ''a song cycle for dreamers and schemers'' and went on to say, ''The songs took shape during the summer of '95, at a time when I was coming to grips with a lot of conflicting thoughts and feelings...And at the risk of sounding like some wounded folkie, this is probably the most personal record I've made so far.''

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(11)
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A little too smart for a big dumb town" July 30, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Maybe you heard that song when BLACK DIAMOND came out in 1996. It sounded great on the radio, but few were left to play it by then -- the *adult alternative* format had bitten the dust, replaced by *alternative rock* as I recall. Stan had lost his major label contract, and wrote these songs based on his dreams in the summer of 1995 -- the album is "dedicated to all dreams and spirits everywhere." It was released on the tiny Birdcage Records, and it is great to see it reissued by New West. Located in between the uneven PARTYBALL (91) and the half-instrumental ANATOMY (99), this is Stan's masterpiece of the '90s. It may even be his best record ever, but of course it has serious competition from his '80s records for that claim.

"Big Dumb Town" is brilliant, and no matter how many times I listen to it, I still puzzle over the lyrics -- the main character is an immoral sleazeball, certainly not a hero, and yet the big dumb town is not exactly portrayed positively either. In fact, it's easy to imagine Ridgway thinking of himself as being too smart for the record-buying public, and you or I, who appreciate his intelligent music, may think of ourselves that way too. The ambiguity here is definitely not something Dubya or his fans would understand.

"Wild Bill Donovan" is not quite as ambiguous -- superficially an old-fashioned folk song extolling the founder of the CIA as a hero, the intent is clearly ironic. The idea of a mock-tribute to a quasi-mythical spy is typical Ridgway brilliance. "Man of Stone" follows directly, which is apropos as it is an espionage dream sequence. "Gone the Distance" and "Stranded" are powerful and tragic:

"Is it all a million miles from where you are?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Experimental and eclectic Ridgway... September 17, 2005
Format:Audio CD
"Black Diamond" stands as one of Stan Ridgway's most adventurous albums. It presents a strange blend of electronic and acoustic music that, at first listen, may sound overly disparate and hacked together. But repeated listenings smooth out the transitions and reveal a deeper structure. The album actually explores very similar emotional themes within very different contexts. So yes, it's eclectic, somewhat intentionally non-commercial, and quite experimental as a whole. Consequently, it may not appeal to everyone.

The album opens with a bang and one of Ridgway's best songs, "Big Dumb Town". It paints a portrait of the worst sort of opportunist: someone who makes a profit off of selling firehoses to a city on fire. It wasn't a hit, but it sounds like a hit created by an ideal world (the grunge movement likely pushed it off the airways in the mid-late 90s). "Gone the Distance" abruptly changes the mood from electric to sparse acoustic. When Ridgway hits the high notes, his voice takes on a mellow Neil Young-ish timbre. The somewhat cryptic lyrics evoke loneliness, the void, and things that remain out of reach. Next arrives another in a series of abupt transitions and yet another of Ridgway's best songs, "Knife and Fork". An extremely addictive piano riff runs through this song about a nightmarish personal obsession in the second-person. "Down the Coast Highway" returns to acoustic land. A mood of nonchalance pervades the song. Even the semi-surprise ending "I blew him away" remains emotionally distant. Then the song fades out as if nothing really significant happened. The narrator seems unmoved. Indifference? Distance? A false sense of reality? The song raises more questions than it answers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Stan Ridgway is one of those "special" artists -- you know, the ones nobody's quite sure they've heard of, but people familiar with him just kind of wink, saying: I've been there.
SR is film, he's music, he's literature, he's Johnny Cash and Rod Serling and Ennio Morricone and all sorts of other things all rolled into one. If Harry Dean Stanton wrote tunes, he'd be Stan Ridgway. If L.A. Confidential were a person, he'd be Stan Ridgway.
Every album Stan's done is the best album he's ever done. They're addictive, they're good driving music, and some stuff, particularly on this CD and on the Drywall: Work the Dumb Oracle CD, will make you feel just a little uncomfortable to be living in this day and age.
Underneath it all, Stan is a stunningly original talent. This is a fantastic CD.
Okay? Buy it. Just buy it. If you don't like it, who knows? Maybe you're not living on the right planet (or maybe you are, and you just don't know it yet).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Stan Ridgway is one of those "special" artists -- you know, the ones nobody's quite sure they've heard of, but people familiar with him just kind of wink, saying: I've been there.
SR is film, he's music, he's literature, he's Johnny Cash and Rod Serling and Ennio Morricone and all sorts of other things all rolled into one. If Harry Dean Stanton wrote tunes, he'd be Stan Ridgway. If L.A. Confidential were a person, he'd be Stan Ridgway.
Every album Stan's done is the best album he's ever done. They're addictive, they're good driving music, and some stuff, particularly on this CD and on the Drywall: Work the Dumb Oracle CD, will make you feel just a little uncomfortable to be living in this day and age.
Underneath it all, Stan is a stunningly original talent. This is a fantastic CD.
Okay? Buy it. Just buy it. If you don't like it, who knows? Maybe you're not living on the right planet (or maybe you are, and you just don't know it yet).
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great, great, great!
stan seems to be incapable of releasing bad music! everything he makes is simply pure gold! a must-have for any true fan!
Published on December 4, 2011 by Luke!
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent example of Ridgway's singular talent.
BLACK DIAMOND starts with more than a hint of bitterness as Ridgway rips into a young woman who's a little too smart for this "Big Dumb Town. Read more
Published on March 7, 2008 by J. Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars Straddling the Razor
As another reviewer said of Stan's songs, "They're addictive, they're good driving music, and some stuff ... Read more
Published on December 20, 2005 by S. D. Hicks
3.0 out of 5 stars Many facets uncut and unpolished
The Partyball album was a tough act for Ridgway to follow. It was his most successful record to date, artistically and commercially. Read more
Published on August 22, 2005 by Eric J. Anderson
3.0 out of 5 stars Stan's Atonal Storytelling
Whenever Ridgway is discussed, the review always includes comments about his ability as a storyteller, comparisons to pulp fiction, atonal vocals, and the generally unusual... Read more
Published on November 16, 2003 by "hendershotr"
5.0 out of 5 stars Heard "Big Dumb Town", Got "BLACK DIAMONDS" ALL...
My first exposure to Stan Ridgway was hearing "Big Dumb Town" on a local station, it reminded me of a friend of mine. Read more
Published on November 7, 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Ridgway Press Clips
Some things people have said about Stan Ridgway....
"Stan Ridgway is equal parts Raymond Chandler and John Huston, Rod Serling and Johnny Cash. Read more
Published on October 11, 1999
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