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Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John

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Audio CD, August 7, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Peter Case is back with Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John, his most raw, direct work in nearly a decade. This album of politically fueled songs finds America's golden troubadour in his finest form, laying down sparse, busker-style guitar work over his uniquely delivered dusty road-poetry. Now Let Us Praise Sleepy John is yet another volume in the career of one of the most storied singer/songwriters of his generation. Standard Jewel Case.

Since his street-corner-playing days in Buffalo and on through nearly 30 years of making music, Peter Case always seemed to find time for a cover of Sleepy John Estes. Case's first album since 2002's Beeline actually goes one better, interpreting the legendary wailing blues master by stripping away adjunct instruments and pining for the carefree busking days where all that mattered were a guitar and a song to sing. And in this setting, not many can write them or sing them like Case. There are flat-picking observations on "two kinds of justice" in "Million Dollar Bail," recollections of Telly Savalas in the small-town predicaments of "Palookaville," and duets with both buddies (Carlos Guitarlos on "Underneath the Stars") and heroes (Richard Thompson on "Every 24 Hours"). There are no Estes covers, but acclimating Robert Wilkins's 80-year-old "Get Away Blues" is expressively close, as every pluck of the 12-string and lyrical tug from deep inside Case's gut does justice to the late Sleepy John. --Scott Holter

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

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Every 24 Hours 4:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Million Dollars Bail 3:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Underneath the Stars 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Just Hangin' On 2:14$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Ain't Gonna Worry No More 6:14$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Palookaville 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Get Away Blues 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. The Open Road Song 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Somebrightmorningblues 3:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. I'm Gonna Change My Ways 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. That Soul Twist 3:57$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 7, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,887 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Kearin on August 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Almost 30 years ago Peter Case and the Plimsouls first came to many people's attention in a now famous scene in the Nicholas Cage vehicle "Valley Girl," in which Cage takes his girlfriend to a club to hear the Plimsouls, telling her "this is real music, not that techno (stuff) you listen to." Today the Valley Girl fad is, fortunately, long forgotten, but Peter Case, now usually a solo performer, is still mining musical gold. Here he performs mostly solo, but with well-chosen collaborators on several tracks, including "Every 24 Hours," which features some characteristically brilliant playing (and backing vocals) by British songwriter and guitar wiz Richard Thompson.

The title alludes to the great bluesman Sleepy John Estes, who serves as a kind of presiding spirit. But it's not a "tribute record," and in fact there's only one blues cover here (not a Sleepy John song). Instead you get Case at top form as singer, songwriter, and guitarist. There's a unity to these songs, most of which return to the same group of themes: justice, faith, life on the road, looking back at your own past, looking around you at how the world is. "Every 24 Hours," "Ain't Gonna Worry No More," and "I'm Gonna Change My Ways" are as good as anything Peter has ever written, and the rest aren't far behind. And since it's mostly Case and his guitar you really get a chance to hear his abilities as a player.

Case has reportedly said that this is the record he's always wanted to make. His fans are likely to agree that it's also the record they've always wanted to hear. And if you're not a fan yet you're likely to be one once you give this record a listen or two.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rock Carolina on August 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD Peter Case reminds us on "Million Dollars Bail", one of eleven reasons to lay your hat on the table and stay awhile. While Case is painting a picture of injustice as it relates to the haves and have nots, he could just as easily be referring to the vagaries of the music world - where an artist of Cases' stature is left to paint his passionate songs of love, loss, pain, and hope in the shadows of an increasingly complacent universe.

Singing in his clear passionate tenor, mostly alone with his guitar, Case mourns the loss of the dream in "Palookaville", at the same time he champions the Terry Malloy's of the land - those who are still fighting in a world that has forgotten them.

Richard Thompson shows up on "Every 24 Hours" to lend a hand on vocals and guitar. The line "who moved the furniture, who turned out the lights" is the cry of everyman, and everywoman, amazed and dazed at how difficult it is to maneuver in a world that changes so quickly. Where is the ground to stand on? Thankfully, Case offers some suggestions - love and hope are just around the corner.

"Underneath the Stars" could be just another token song for the homeless in the hands of a songwriter with less experience and insight than Case. Here he sings the plight of the "new face" seen on the streets, under the bridges, and alleyways of your hometown, and challenges the listener to count their blessings - it just might be you who wears "the pauper's crown" one day.

In "Ain't Gonna Worry No More" all the skills that make Peter Case one of the true great songwriters operating in the world today are at their peak - the lyrical eye of the poet, the passionate cry of the rocker, the emotional vulnerability of the `bluesman', the clarity and closeness of the story-teller.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Shingler on August 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I read somewhere that Lester Bangs used to listen to an album beginning to end in one sitting and sometimes over and over beginning to end in one sitting before even thinking about writing a review. I used to do that all the time (the listening-all-the-way-through part, not the review writing). It's hard for me to find time to do that one-sitting thing anymore. But I did it one early morning with Peter Case's new album `Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John' -- 'Every 24 Hours' through 'Palookaville' at about 5:30 or so ... then 'Get Away Blues' through 'That Soul Twist' on the drive in to work (with a little sitting in the parking garage to get it all in).

This album begins with Case "driving" down the road, a place with which he is intimately familiar (having left his childhood home at 15 and traveled through the Northeast and Midwest with his guitar on his way to the West Coast, where he was a street singer in San Francisco in the early 70s and became the singer-songwriter icon he is now, living in Los Angeles). The album ends in the same place (albeit further down the line) as its final song 'That Soul Twist' saunters leisurely on until it's just out of sight, the notes dissipating just over the horizon. Indeed, the road is central to this album's genius. Case himself refers to the road possessively on this album as `my highway' ... and the truth is we all benefit from joining him on his journey through this collection of songs.

With `Sleepy John,' Case continues (as with all his albums) to capture the pivotal themes of life -- every life is as valuable as the next ...every life is made up of experiences that are as real as the next ... no one is a label or should be labeled ... justice, grace, compassion and, above all, Love are essential ...
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