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  • Holiday in Dirt
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Holiday in Dirt

18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 12, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Roaming a psychedelic no-man's land where Tom Waits and Jack Kerouac might converge, Stan Ridgway is an inimitable singer and precision essayist whose song characters wear life's grit under their fingernails. It's doubtful Ridgway ever broke the legs of a no-goodnik named Bing, but gosh darn if you're not thoroughly convinced of it by the end of "Bing Can't Walk," one of a handful of creaky, ramshackle gems gathered together on the odds-and-sods Holiday in Dirt. He may scribble outside the lines musically, but Ridgway's harp-goosed, art-rock vignettes are enormously detailed--witness the bloopy, futuristic "After the Storm," the eerily straight-faced midtempo rocker "Whatever Happened to You?" or the unlisted cover of Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors," cheekily delivered in a character that might have been crafted by Bill Murray circa Caddyshack. Admittedly an acquired taste, Ridgway repays diligence with cartwheeling, consistently unexpected, possibly true parables sucked straight out of the twilight zone that is contemporary America. If Jackson Pollack paintings had sound, they'd probably sound a lot like this. --Kim Hughes

1. Beloved Movie Star
2. Operator Help Me
3. Time Inside
4. End Of The Line
5. Garage Band '69
6. Bing Can't Walk
7. Brand New Special And Unique
8. After The Storm
9. Foundering
10. Amnesia
11. Whatever Happened To You?
12. Act Of Faith
13. Beloved Movie Star Redux

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New West Records
  • ASIN: B00005Y1TG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,109 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
"Holidays in Dirt" is a remarkably cohesive album, considering that it's made up of rare and/or unreleased material. In fact, it holds up as well as any of Stan's better albums, and sounds more like an album than "Anatomy" (which to me felt more like it was cobbled together from bits and pieces).
HID has everything that has endured me to SR over the years. Losers and hard luck cases and guys named Pete whose lives didn't turn out quite the way they planned. Moments of joy and moments of desperation and moments of unbearable angst. Atmosphere pieces that make you check in the closets and under the bed.
Great stuff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Holiday In Dirt is a collection of rare and unreleased tracks, but it hangs together
well. While there's no unifying concept to the disc, it's cohesive and has a strong
sense of place. Ridgway is to Los Angeles as Lou Reed is to New York -- no place
else could have produced him. He mixes the traditional with the new and has an
openness to music as pure sound that comes, I think, from growing up in a city
whose major industry is movies. Working in that atmosphere (at least one website
indicates that Wall of Voodoo was formed to write music for low-budget movies)
may have suggested to him the dramatic possibilities of sound -- a particularly
important discovery for someone whose narratives are so complex.
Whatever his influences, the salient feature of Ridgway's discs is their sonic
richness. The quality of his recordings is especially impressive given that the last
three have been independent releases produced, one assumes, on limited
budgets. His discs have a lot going on in them, but everything's spread out across a
wide soundstage in a kind of aural Cinemascope. For all the sonic detail Ridgway
puts into his music, it rarely feels crowded. When a song does seem densely
packed, as does "End of the Line" here, it sounds intentionally so.
Holiday In Dirt contains two versions of "Beloved Movie Star" that shed some light
on how Ridgway works. The first version, which opens the disc, is a lush
arrangement that features a Duane Eddy-like guitar, drenched in reverb and
tremolo, and a strummed harp. Synthesizers and other keyboards create a wash of
sound that carries Ridgway's voice along. The second version is an earlier, demo
recording of the track. It's much more spare.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jason Stein VINE VOICE on March 8, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It was a nice idea for Stan to give his fans some unreleased tracks to munch on. There are some good songs here like "My Beloved Movie Star" both versions, "Garage Band '69", "Bing Can't Walk" and "Whatever Happened To You?" But some of the other songs are not as memorable such as "Time Inside", "Act Of Faith" or "Amnesia". As always, Stan's trademark quirky humor is present in abundance here, and what would a Ridgway cd be without it? "Holiday In Dirt" is a nice appetizer while we wait for new material.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
"I wish I was in Tijuana/Eating barbecued iguana." Stan Ridgway could have had no idea when he penned those lines twenty years ago that they would be some of the most enduring lyrics from the New Wave era. Unfortunately, "Mexican Radio," the song from which they are taken, remains most folks' only exposure to one of modern rock music's most unique and underrated talents. First as the leader of Wall Of Voodoo and, since departing that act in 1983, as a solo artist (with infrequent outings with the outfit Drywall), Ridgway has compiled a body of work that defies category, garnering a cult following while only on occasion earning much airplay ("Drive She Said," "Don't Box Me In"). You don't so much listen to a Stan Ridgway album as "watch" it, full of four-minute film noirs delivered in an adenoidal voice that oddly resembles The B-52s' Fred Schneider. It's like stumbling into some remote cantina south of the border and striking up a conversation with some mysterious Harry Dean Stanton-type with stories to tell, and on Holiday In Dirt there's no shortage of tales.
The twelve-song collection is actually B-sides and unreleased tracks that hadn't made the cut for previous releases not because they lack merit but because, according to the liner notes (which, by the way, are more clever than the music on most albums), they didn't fit. Despite this cut and paste approach, it's a surprisingly seamless set that's bookended by two different versions of "Beloved Movie Star," a lazy, loping saga of vanishing dreams, punctuated (or perhaps mocked) by wife Pietra Wexstun's flourishes on harp.
There's a lot of desperation and paranoia here (no surprise to anyone familiar with Ridgway's work).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maine Writer VINE VOICE on March 3, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Perhaps it says something that I reserved a copy of this CD months before it was released. That bias disclosed, this is perhaps Stan's most lovely gem. Ridgway's songs are truly gem-like in that they have deep, rich colors and clear reflective surfaces both musically and lyrically. These are cuts that never made his prior albums, but they are by no means second-stringers.
Some highlights:
"Beloved Movie Star" has a terrific chorused Strat lick couple with rich doubled vocals, and tells the story a fans infatuation with a matinee idol. He even puts a harp to good us in creating a bright, textured sound.
"Operator Help Me" starts with percussive piano chords keeping time with a quasi-western beat. "Operator help me, there's sound out in the street. And it just keeps getting louder as I speak. No one here to help me as I live here all alone. But the street his as always is my home. As the sun goes down and all the people go inside, yeah they lock their doors ... Nobody comes until a body hits the ground and you send somebody to stop this sound."
"Time Inside" has a jazzy feel with a interesting chord progression of major and minor chords, coupled with a great base line and nice guitar work. Love the melodic switches. A bit of a Led Zeppelin guitar sound.
"End of the Line" is a straightforward early solo-style song reminiscent of his first album after Wall of Voodoo.
It gets better and better as you listen.
More, Stan, more!
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