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Criminal Under My Own Hat

T Bone BurnettAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Import, 2014 $20.40  
Audio CD, 1992 --  
Audio Cassette, 1992 --  

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T Bone Burnett's 40 years of experience in music and entertainment have earned him an unparalleled reputation as a first-rate innovative artist, songwriter, producer, performer, concert producer, record company owner and artist advocate. Burnett's highly sought-after involvement in music, film, television and stage projects is marked by his uncanny ability to successfully combine his ... Read more in Amazon's T Bone Burnett Store

Visit Amazon's T Bone Burnett Store
for 13 albums, photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Criminal Under My Own Hat + The True False Identity + Tooth of Crime
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 14, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: 1992
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000008DVO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,131 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Over You
2. Tear This Building Down
3. It's Not Too Late
4. Humans from Earth
5. Primitives
6. Criminals
7. Every Little Thing
8. I Can Explain Everything
9. Any Time at All
10. I Can Explain Everything (Reprise)
11. The Long Time Now
12. Kill Switch

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars T Bone's criminally overlooked masterpiece July 29, 2004
Format:Audio CD
THE CRIMINAL UNDER MY OWN HAT was released in 1992 to nearly universal indifference. Just another example of the fact that there is no justice. Actually, the title cut did get some airplay on the short-lived *adult alternative* stations of the time, which is how I first heard it. CRIMINAL is a brilliant, powerful album -- it is T-Bone Burnett's masterpiece, and is among the finest albums of all time, I believe. The songs are superb, and their overall effect is stunning. This is truly an *album* and not just a collection of songs. The musicians are top-notch -- Jim Keltner on drums; Jerry Scheff, Roy Huskey, Jr. and Edgar Meyer on bass; Marc Ribot on guitar; Mark O'Connor on violin and mandolin; Jerry Douglas on dobro. Most of the songs are acoustic, but several are very electric, with driving bass and drums, and ferocious electric guitar (Criminals, Tear This Building Down, Humans From Earth, I Can Explain Everything).

The lyrics range from the sincere and poignant to the sardonic to the hilarious. The overall mood, though, is serious -- intensely serious. I suppose this probably has something to do with why it was not more popular. The title track, for instance, goes 180 degrees against U.S. trend of "getting tough on crime":

"There is no other I can blame, no other I can judge, no other I can cast in shame and require blood."

A great line from "Primitives" is: "The frightening thing is not dying -- the frightening thing is not living."

The "Humans from Earth" are:

"...out here in the universe buying real estate ... looking for a planet where the air is fresh and the water clear ... you have nothing at all to fear, I think we're going to like it here...
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost masterpiece May 10, 2006
By Brutus
Format:Audio CD
Like the reviewers below, I consider this to be a masterpiece. When it came out in 1992, I rated it the best album of its year (not the best Americana, or the best singer-songwriter, or the best in a specific category - it simply rated as the best album in any category of music that I heard that year - and I listen to lots).

Yet it sank without trace. I saw just one (pathetic) review of it, and it never made any critical lists or best albums of the year summaries that I ever saw. In fact, I have only ever seen two copies of it (one at a friend's, and one in the shop, which is the one I bought). Why? It is not as if T-Bone is an unknown quantity.

But let me put this album in perspective. There are folk songs on here that Bob Dylan wishes he could have written - and I am a big Dylan fan. Any fan of guitar based singer-songwriting simply needs to hear this album. And above all, this album has what far too many singer-songwriter albums do not - it is profoundly exciting. Not just bombastic histrionics on the guitar, but the excitement that comes from soulful engagement and revelation.

As the songs lift sequentially from one level to the next, and as the soul of the material is progressively revealed, the effect is totally mesmerising. I find the sequencing of songs to be as strong as any that I have ever heard. And I still play the songs regularly, in sequence, 14 years later. For in addition to being a set of great songs, this also a great production - minimalist, sometimes piercing, sometimes reflective, but never banal.

Maybe its time has finally come. T-Bone is about to release the follow-up, and we will see what he has been keeping under his hat for the last decade. And hopefully he will now take his rightful place in the pantheon of American singer-songwriters, as the soulful master that he is. But if you like edge, wit and sensitivity, informed by American folk and country idioms, do not overlook this one.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant album October 30, 2005
Format:Audio CD
T-Bone's voice is not his greatest asset but it's hardly neccessary with these songs as they are full of sharp insight and thoughtful observation, delivered with pathos and wit. The music itself on each and every song is oustanding, the musicianship impeccable and apart from encouraging you to taste and enjoy this for yourself, I can only say that I will be buying the very next T-Bone steak available. Rumour has it that there is a new album in the pipeline.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Defibrillator To The Chest May 29, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Having been casually aware of T. Bone Burnett's work through his film scoring and frequent collaborations with Elvis Costello, Criminal was an easy used record store grab - a four dollar experiment with zero downside.

Nothing short of a defibrillator to the chest could have preprared me for the scope and power of Burnett's virtuoso stroll through whatever it is that he took a virtuoso stroll through - alternately wrapping his tales of corroded love and pervasive delusion in the visage of Ziggy Stardust, Warren Zevon or Iggy Pop with no hint of conceit or mimicry. Burnett goes light years beyond the Bayou authoring a vision that is a steely-eyed synthesis of folk, power pop and glam-punk all fused into a singular, sneering body slam against the social and self-created idiocracy that we all live with day-to-day.

Consistent with his reputation, Criminal is a sonic masterwork forgiving no hint of production flaws of any kind. As many reviewers have said, it is beyond comprehension why this record came and went like a wraith with no critical notice whatsoever. It is as moving, powerful and unexpected as any recording in recent memory.

I would suspect that the absence of critical notice stems from the lack of tidiness that a work so broadly challenging represents. There is no greater sin within an industry so rigidly boxed by format and genre than to have an artist offering no boundaries or convention beyond the goal of sheer excellence. One for the ages... good luck finding a copy!
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