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34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 7, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Paul Westerberg's solo work has never exactly measured up to the life-changing music he made with the the Replacements. But it seems like that's more of a problem for everyone else than him. Folker is the fifth full-length album he has recorded in his basement--counting the ones produced by his slightly more mischievous alter ego Grandpaboy--and easily the most relaxed. The lyrics seem largely tossed off, the instruments sound like they're competing with the hum of the heater, and Westerberg sings in the gruff voice of someone who's just rolled out of bed. Under the right circumstances these are all endearing qualities, to be sure (see: Damien Rice's O), although more discerning fans might find that bluesy dirges like "When Will We Arrive?" and "As Far As I Know" signal a slight lack of direction. --Aidin Vaziri

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. Jingle 1:27$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Now I Wonder? 4:34$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. My Dad 3:27$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. Lookin' Up In Heaven 3:12$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. Anyways All Right 4:39$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. $100 Groom 5:14$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. 23 Years Ago 5:34$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. As Far As I Know 3:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. What About Mine? 3:43$1.29  Buy MP3 
10. How Can You Like Him? 4:04$1.29  Buy MP3 
11. Breathe Some New Life 5:29$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. Gun Shy 3:12$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. Folk Star 4:17$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 7, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vagrant
  • ASIN: B0002NRS0K
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,082 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By William J. Pierce on February 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Possibly Westerberg's best yet.

When you strip away whatever youthful nostalgia you might associate with older works from the Replacements, and measure things up track by track, this album takes second place to none. Some of its songs could secretly wedge themselves into older works and never sound out of place.

Folker vaults Paul from the netherworld between youthful angst and middle age reflection. True, there are some retrospective ballads on Folker, but there is, nevertheless, a gratitude and humility in Folker, and a sincerity that comes from a man who has finally shaken off the past and settled into the present. For its quality and deftness, this album floats on a plane above all of his recent work.

For those who found Grandpa Boy a bit thin and half-hearted, with its bare-cupboard home studio sound and distracted themes, this album will please. Its production values are robust and rich, but not overdone. It is well balanced, with none of the aging-star desperation that seemed to undergird All Shook Down; remember how techy and awkward and forced much of that sounded compared to the authentic and moving Let it Be and Tim?

Folker brings at least five tracks that in and of themselves justify the silica that gave their lives for this disc. Below is a list of Folker's tracks. See asterisks for the album's best tracks.*

1) Jingle - A sarcastic, Beatlesque song-as-tuning-fork.

2) *Now I Wonder - Vague, forgivably overwrought, spiritual, and moving.

3) *My Dad - A clever and surreptitiously sentimental love song to his ailing father.

4) *Lookin' Up In Heaven - A spacious, rhythmic, tireless and nostalgic paean for love lost.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Gran on February 19, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Every song on this album is well performed and well placed. The songs Mr. Westerberg delivers here show an increasing comfort with the way he wants to make music and express himself. There are some lonely songs that bring the world into the basement window. This album is probably closer to the music and process he wishes he could have made and released all along. This album is Lennon's "Double Fantasy" without all the studio dumbing up, overdubs and fluff (and Yoko). Listening to Lennon's home demos from the recent "Acoustic" release, one realizes the warmth and feel that was lost in the studio. This album isn't as easy to digest right out of the gate, but with a few listens, the substance, emotion and raw expression seep out of the cracks. "Gun Shy" is the album's single, so of course it's track 12 of 13. Mr. Westerberg has always been prone to burying the most appealing songs at the back of the drawer. If you like "Stereo" or "Suicaine Gratification" you'll be pleased to own this CD. Some themes come up a few times on the album, but that may be a reflection of where Mr. Westerberg's head is spending most of it's time and isn't a drastic change for those that have followed the Replacements and beyond. It's a very personal album with a solid mix of upbeat, slower, acoustic and electric songs.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S.L. Cagnina on October 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is a good album. How can anyone hear As Far As I Know and not get what a great pop song is?

For that song alone, Paul gets 4 stars. But My Dad, Breathe some new life, Looking up in Heaven -- all terrific tunes.

I think the expectations were a wall-to-wall masterpiece. This isn't. But I ask: When has Paul made such a thing?

It's simple, if you like Paul: When he's good, he's greater than anything else. And when he's less than that -- well -- it's a processs. Those great ones come out of that processs. So, hate track 3, 4, 9 -- but the best tracks -- they're rock and roll with all the beauty and twisty honesty only Paul can make.

Perfect? No.

Paul? Yes.

Good Paul?

I refer you to As Far as I know.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Sherman on March 10, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I know you're skeptical. I'm always skeptical. Every album comes out, and someone says it's great. Then I buy it, listen to it a few times, and file it away forever, wondering why I keep trying. Well, we all know why I keep trying-what if he really did something impossibly great again?

I think Paul's solo career has amounted to very little of any worth. I think the Grandpaboy material is pretty much an insult to his fans-"look, I don't even have to try, and they'll still buy it."

Well, I'm here to tell you that this album finally delivers on the promise. This is the best collection of songs Paul's released since "Pleased to Meet Me." No lame blues, no half-constructed or half-recorded songs. He's really trying here, and it shows. This album has all of the great Westerberg hallmarks: it's funny, beautiful, heart-breaking, gruff, and, occasionally rocking. It's still pretty low-fi, but there's a full, real band, and the performances are not tossed off, but relaxed and confident. Paul's singing is perfectly imperfect--sometimes off-key, but when wasn't it? The real revelation is his guitar-playing. He really pulls off a nice Keith/Ronny country raunch, with some great rhythm playing (see "Now I Wonder," "My Dad"). In fact, to me, this record has a real "Exile on Main St." vibe. Obviously, it's not that kind of masterpiece, but it's got the same kind of laid back, country-honk, recorded in the basement vibe. Trying, but not so much that the soul of the songs gets squashed. The record is lived-in and breathes.

There are some great, great songs here. Most are excellent. "Twenty-three years ago" is one of Paul's all-time great songs. Up there with pretty much anything he's ever written.
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