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on June 10, 2014
Once again Jack White, lover of blues, funk, soul, and good old fashioned rock and roll, has dipped into his bag of inventiveness and has created an album more eclectic than his 2012 release "Blunderbuss." It's taken him a year and a half to make it, and if the rumors are true it is said he destroyed the original versions and started from scratch.

In interviews he has said the lyrics were inspired by old stories and writings from his 13 year old self. He said some of it was laughable, but I listened, because... it's who he is and not what he does, at least not that much. He's a truly independent artist, and rarely asks for anyone's help, unless he's recording in digital, which is NOT what he does. You DO know Jack records strictly in analog (on two old 8-track recorders), because "it just sounds more real."

Here's my 30 second gut review of each song - the album is only 39 minutes long...

01 - Three Women - 1972 called but is FINE with you re-creating their sound, fuzzy guitars and dirty soul organ grinding and all, about his love for the number one subject of every rock and roll teen boy playing his guitar - times three!

02 - Lazaretto - I like this song, not just because it's an instant guitar player's classic, but the music and lyrics are top notch and reminds us why we like Jack and his unique sound - he's everywhere on this single and it shows. From Catholic rites to Jack Chick religious tracts and several philosophers, he circles the globe in your mind.

03 - Temporary Ground - this duet with Nashville artist Lillie Mae Rische (who also play a little fiddle) takes you on a ride around the block to the country side of his world, and it's it's pretty good.

04 - Would You Fight For My Love - channeling his best Neil Young, he weaves a wonderful tale of love - and asking her to fight for it. Guitars play out his pain in this wonderful low-key stunner.

05 - High Stepper Ball - this song - an amazing bit of instrumental riffing - was our first taste of the album to come, and I have to say it again - the grinding guitars are amazing. I really do dare anyone around his age to create this kind of virtuosity and sell it like only Jack can.

06 - Just One Drink - this reminds me so much of some 1973 Rolling Stones stuff, a lost track from the "Exile on Main Street" sessions. Simply great.

07 - Alone In My Home - (the beginning sounded so familiar, then it caught me - "Romeo's Tune" by Steve Forbert, 1979. 1979???) Another duet with Rische, and you can feel the wonderful analog-ness along with the great lyrics. He's almost daring the listener to understand him as he fades away...

08 - That Black Licorice Bat - vocalist Ruby Amanfu (from his all-female backup band The Peacocks) helps through his vocal attack on this hands-down rocker, and Jack has stated as much on NPR that it was "I really put in the album of my own personality".

09 - Entitlement - his deep Catholic background is present here, a song about paying Caesar what is due, paying pennance, apathy, and "being tired of being told what to do." It's like a really really ironic country-rock version of "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against The Machine. Strange, but very truthful. Will the message get through?

10 - I Think I Found The Culprit - with the six-string of Dean Fertita present and almost dominating the song, Jack takes us once again into his flighty world as his mirror is reflected towards his overall self - and the guilt that he's taking away by looking too long. Are the "birds of a feather" lyrics refrencing himself? Only the piano knows.

11 - Want And Able - Speaking of birds... this song is a complete Jack White production, dubbing and singing and all of it. This is part two of a "song trilogy," part one being the song "Effect and Cause" from his 2007 White Stripes album "Icky Thump." From the lyrics, it's biblical in tone, being this time the forces of good and bad at war with even themselves, represented by Cain and Able... I mean, Want and Able. It plays like a light bit of fluff, but the odd serousness and playfulness only shows Jack refusing to submit to his demons or his needs or happiness.

(on the wax album, there is a TON of extras - b-sides, hidden tracks, hidden speeds, and more. Maybe that's why it's selling for so almost thirty dollars?)

In the end, I have to give this inventive, creative, indulgent yet spirited production 5 heathly stars.

You've got to pick up a copy of this, really. Jack White is one of the more subtle (but also at the same time overt) leaders in alternative music today, and he re-invents himself with every new record with more and more audio tricks on every track. Not very many can do that but still stay SERIOUSLY grounded to who he is - a rocker with a conscience, and an obvious dual genius method/guilt complex that would bring down an elephant.

Pick up your copy today, and enjoy!

(thanks for reading, and please don't forget to vote whether you like what I wrote or not - and don't forget to check out my other reviews right here on Amazon!)
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It seems to me as Jack White's career progresses he realizes more and more that he can pretty much do whatever he wants. Here on "Lazaretto" we get some of Jack White at his best with an interesting mixture of sounds that combine the garage rock blues of earlier albums with a lot more of an old time country vibe as many of the tracks feature a seemingly out of tune old-time honkey tonk piano.

Here is a breakdown of the tracks on "Lazaretto":

Three Women - A funky, bluesy tune that sees Jack showing off his guitar chops in between trying to figure out which of the three women, a blonde, a brunette and a redhead, that he wants. We all wish we had that kind of problem!

Lazaretto - A garage rock with White's famous warbly vocals matched with some excellent rocking guitar riffs. If you like you're music greazy (yes, greazy) you'll love this track.

Temporary Ground - Big change of gears for this track which sees White going into full country mode here with the help of Lillie Mae Rische on the fiddle.

Would You Fight For My Love - The track opens with a duel between piano and guitar then moves into some etherial voices before the meat of the track comes in for an honest and open White expressing how he's afraid of getting hurt in relationships.

High Ball Stepper - A fun instrumental tune that features a honky-tonk piano, fiddle and some heavily distorted guitar work.

Just One Drink - This song is 2:36 of awesome. Jack's got woman problems and he's turning to the bottle of rye, and one hell of a rocking track, to fix his problems. "You drink water and I drink gasline, one of us is happy and one of us in mean." That's rock and roll.

Alone In My Home - Another track featuring a honkey-tonk piano that melds happy sounds with a pretty dark lyric where Jack compares himself to a ghost so nobody can touch him.

Entitlement - A more toned down track with lyrics like, "Somebody took away my God-given right, I guess God must have gave it to you," show a perturbed White singing over more honky-tonk pianos and steel guitars.

That Black Bat Licorice - Another garage rock masterpiece with lyrics that are all over the place from references to Nietzsche to telling women he likes to "play dumb like Columbo." This is probably my favorite track on the album as it just rocks from start to finish.

I Think I Found The Culprit - As hard as the previous track rocks this one slows it down in a track open for interpretation with White singing "Birds of a feather may lay together, but the uglier one is always under the gun."

Want And Able - The final track of the album is another honky-tonk piano track that finished off the album nicely. It features the lyric, "Who is the who, telling who what to do?" While we may not be sure, one thing is for sure this album as a whole is certainly a journey worth going on.'

There is no doubt that White is writing from a dark place on a lot of these tracks and with the meaning of "Lazaretto" being "a hospital for those affected with contagious diseases, especially leprosy" I guess we know that was just the way White intended it to be.

Overall, a great album from Jack White.
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on June 10, 2014
I confess to liking Jack White's music quite a bit. From his days in The White Stripes to side projects and now his solo records it's clear that he's a driven performer and producer who exudes a passion for music. That being said, his music rarely catches me by surprise. By now most of us, regardless of whether you enjoy his output or not, have a good idea of what he does and you either love his noisy, rock-blues sound or you don't. He's a bit of an acquired taste but I like enough of his music to consider myself a fan, even if it often feels like he does variations on the same thing most of the time. I approached Lazaretto expecting some good songs that didn't stray too far from his usual blue print. What I got instead blew me away.

Jack is in full-blown country mode here. That's not to say it's a country album but it contains so many Southern touches that it's the closest he's come to fully embracing an old-school Nashville sound on his own. He's played with it before but now it feels fully realized---and the results are excellent. The ballads are perhaps the album's brightest moments, with tracks like "Entitlement", "Want and Able" and "I Think I Found the Culprit" blending traditional country with subtle pop sensibilities. "Alone in My Home" is one of the best examples, taking a country flavor and sprinkling it with a poppy hook to straddle the line between old and new. Arguably my favorite track, "Temporary Ground", leans further toward folk. Jack throws fiddles into the mix and some female backing vocals round it out into one of the best songs he's penned in quite some time.

This is still a Jack White album and his traditional sound does seep in for a few tunes, most notably on the album's title track, the instrumental "High Ball Stepper" and the fun "That Black Bat Licorice". While White ventures into country, ragtime, blues, folk and rock on this album it still features his trademark vocals and lyrics. It's different and yet won't throw fans who already love his sound. If anything it sounds like the sequel to Get Behind Me Satan, which happens to be my favorite White Stripes release. If you like the softer, more piano-driven side of Jack White then this is certainly up your alley.

This record as a very pleasant surprise and it's extremely fun. Even the album cover is appealing (is Jack being protected by angels, leading them, or is it some kind of sly nod to Doctor Who?) and the whole package comes together nicely. It's nothing we haven't heard Jack do before but it is nice to see him embrace a softer sound and go with something a bit less recognizable. As a country troubadour he fares quite well and it's arguably the most consistent record he's recorded to date. Lazaretto is a blast and a must-have for your summer.
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on June 10, 2014
I fell in love with Jack White's work on "Elephant" by White Stripes making me seek out all his musical incarnations and I love it all.

His sophomore solo disc "Lazaretto" opens with the retro sounding Blues/Rock "Three Women", setting the tone for much of the album. The seemingly similar "Lazaretto" follows until some other worldly squealing and yowling announces a change in tempo about two thirds in.

The dreamy "Temporary Ground" is Country-tinged with vocal support by Lillie Mae Rische, while the cinematic "Would You Fight For My Love?" could soundtrack a spaghetti western and finds him singing "I'm afraid of being hurt, it's true". The dramatic instrumental "High Ball Stepper" features some blistering Zeppelin-style riffs.

The bouncy "Just One Drink" is Country/Rock, "Alone In My Home" is piano Rock, while "Entitlement" is a tender piano-peppered Country ballad belying the angry lyrics "Children today... They take like Caesar and nobody cares". The ska-tinged fiddle-laced "That Black Bat Licorice" is a delight (featuring backing singer Ruby Amanfu), as is the shape-shifting "I Think I Found The Culprit" with ghostly harmonies and the line "Birds of a feather may lay together, but the uglier one is always under the gun". Hymnal ballad "Want And Able" closes the album.

A musical kaleidoscope with hints of the personal turmoil he's experienced recently; a bitter divorce, then ripping into then apologising to everyone from The Black Keys to Meg White and even Duffy, laced with a touch of dark humour.
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on June 10, 2014
As much as I loved Jack White's first solo album, "Blunderbuss" I was a little disappointed that a majority of the songs on the album were mainly acoustic and piano driven than electric guitar. I wanted more of a heavy album like what The White Stripes put out in the early days.
I was very happy to listen to the album I wanted with "Lazaretto" This record is much more electric guitar driven than "Blunderbuss" and isn't afraid of experimentation with songs like "Just One Drink" I feel like Jack White has really made himself an established solo artist that doesn't live in the shadow of the fame of his former band. Much artists that go solo away from their cling to fame with a band don't do as well. Jack White has conquered that and I'm proud to say I was really pleased with this album and recommend it to you as well.
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on June 16, 2014
Jack White never disappoints. I find this to be a much quieter album than anything he has done so far. That being said, it is quite beautiful. He can venture off into different styles and still somehow make it his own. I believe he is a musical genius the likes of Prince. Obviously White's style is very different than His Purple Badness but his ear, prolific style, and slightly off center eccentricities draw that comparison for me. To get back to Lazaretto, I find it a more cohesive album than Blunderbuss. Maybe he is relaxing more into who he is as an artist.
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on January 29, 2016
 Unfortunately, mine was received just as most of the 3 star reports were. Slightly warped, Side 1 is pressed off center, and chunks of black vinyl in the sleeve with the LP. Side 1 seems to play ok except for the wandering tone arm. People with better ears than mine might hear a pitch difference from the short side vs. long side. At my age, I don't notice it. Side 2 plays straight and perfect. The music is exactly what one would expect from Jack White; AWESOME!

I am now inspired to share something that an old soccer coach once shared with me as I was practicing all of the "flowery moves" that I had been watching on Futbol Del Mundo as a young boy. He said, "Son, first learn to score a goal and make a clean pass, then work on the fancy stuff."

As you look at the video, it is almost like the tone arm dances in time with the music. Maybe this is more trickery.

Dear Jack, I love you and your music. Please fire whoever is in charge of QC at the record pressing plant and hire someone who know what they are doing. We are paying too much to hear your genius to have it ruined by idiots.

I like the "trickery" but I don't understand why you would be adding those features when you can't even press a record that isn't off center.
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Oh and how much hype have I had to endure about Jack White over the last decade or so. Whether it was a Rolling Stone critic going on forever about everything the White Stripes,or The Raconteurs,The Dead Weather or The Go did? I'll admit an assumption developed in my mind that Jack White was one of the ongoing "alternative" rock era's walking publicity stunts. Yet another person who'd "change the entire face of music" before everyone would move onto the next trend setter. Sound bitter? Better believe it. There is so much music of quality that isn't represented because of this syndrome. Yet it appears Jack White never asked for any of this to happen to him. A rather private person in reality,Jack White is a very serious instrumentalist who actually takes his craft very seriously and strives for a musical sound of depth and quality. With the aforementioned overexposure I gave The White Strips the slip-who knows as to the future on that level. And though interested I walked past Jack's solo debut Blunderbuss a couple of years ago. This time there was just something that interested me about hearing what this very obviously talented artist had to say. If nothing else to understand why he was so consistently revered. And it really does seem as if I got my answer.

"Three Women" opens up with heavily reverbed drumming with a gospel organ style lead off into a pensively lascivious blues/funk workout-a groove that both makes one bob their head with its rock 'n roll theatrics and move to its funkiness as well. The title song has a very similar flavor,only more piano based and their is a powerful,Hendrix style psychedelic guitar solo towards the end-punctuated by these bell like ringing MOOG synthesizer riffs. "Temporary Ground" and "Entitlement" later in the album are both strong country rockers featuring some fantastic pedal steel work along with the sweetly girlish duet vocals of fiddle player Little Mae Rische on the former. "You You Fight For Me Love?" has a thickly building sound,where the combination of guitar/piano and drum interplay grows fuller as the song and it's chorus progresses. The instrumental "High Ball Stepper",featuring the albums most abstract guitar theatrics,has the same quality while also pulling together the albums rock,blues,country and gospel/soul influences into one. "Alone In My Room" is a breezy,melodically upbeat country soul type number with a reflective twist. "Just One Drink" digs deep into a grinding Stones style soulful rocker with some thick drum/guitar interplay while "The Black Bat Licorice" gets into some thick,reverb heavy bluesiness with its equally rocking riffs. "I Think I Found The Culprit" has a strong symphonic rock flavor with it's scaling vocal choruses and almost satircal sounding Gothic opera melodies. The album ends with the country type folk of "Want And Able".

So after hearing this? My impression of Jack White is very much of a popular music eclectic in the vein of Todd Rundgren,Prince and Lenny Kravitz. Someone who deeply understands his musical influences,yet is able to fuse them into a sound which is ultimately self expressive. My recent knowledge,based in seeing him in the documentary film It Might Get Loud,is that White's deep love of American roots music such as blues,folk and country and in working to preserve original recordings-as well as that sound in his own music,is a quality that also plays deeply into his overall instrumental context. Based on his recent experiences with divorce and trading barbs in the press with other rival bands? Lyrically this album explores the character of someone who is constantly being torn between the often opposite impulses of indulgence and endurance. He is questioning everything from his lustful appetites to the meaning of life itself-coming to the conclusion that "want and able are two different things/one is desire,and the other is the means". Jack surely understands his connections to the psychological complexities of the blues-the possibility of letting out one's woes vocally in order to expel them. And instead of merely going with the noisy,angst ridden alternative rock cliche's? His approach is far more psychedelic,eclectic and often elusive. But you can tell where its coming from. Full of melody,groove,grittiness and guitar mastery? This is a great example of what the future of alternative music could be.
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on July 12, 2014
I'm a 67 year old dude but I still like to listen to new stuff. I've been curious about Jack White so I bought this CD and I can't stop listening to it. I like the authenticity of his music plus he is not doing the same old stuff. He is creative in his song writing and his arrangements and he knows how to rock out. So does the fact that a 67-year old likes this mean that Jack White is becoming too commercial? I hope not. Will success spoil Jack White? I hope that doesn't happen too. He is edgy and I just ordered Blunderbuss to see what that sounds like. I also just bought the new CD by the Black Keys and that is also very good but this one is better. The only reason I'm not giving this five stars is because it doesn't quite rank up there with my "favorite albums of all time." At least not yet.
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on June 11, 2014
I felt that Jack White's first solo album (Blunderbuss) seemed a little tentative, whereas Lazaretto has a more confident overall feel to it, with Jack exploring his love of Americana, mixed with the usual White Stripes faire. Good.
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