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Modern Sounds of the Knitters


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Audio CD, July 12, 2005
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 12, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zoe Records
  • ASIN: B0009W5JWI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,217 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Easy Goin' Sunday
2. Give Me Flowers While I'm
3. Living
4. Try Anymore (Why Don't We Even)
5. In This House That I Call
6. Home
7. Dry River
8. Skin Deep Town
9. Rank Stranger
10. The New Call of the Wreckin'Ball
11. Long Chain On
12. I'll Go Down Swinging
13. Burning House of Love
14. Little Margaret
15. Born to Be Wild

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Knitters - John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Dave Alvin, Jonny Ray Bartel, and D.J. Bonebrake - have been rambling a tangled map of American musical highways since way back in the 20th century. Now, with their first album in 20 years, the revered American band is bringing their traditional sound to a new generation of listeners. The Modern Sound of the Knitters includes acoustic versions of X's 'In This House That I Call Home', 'Skin Deep Town', 'Burning House of Love' and 'I'll Go Down Swinging', Alvin's 'Dry River', and Doe's '(Why Don't We Even) Try Anymore'. The new album also includes 'The New Call of the Wreckin' Ball', a sequel to a song cut for previous album Poor Little Critters in the Road. Some of the material - Flatt & Scrugg's 'Give Me Flowers While I'm Living' and the Stanley Brothers' 'Rank Stranger' - dates back to the late '40s and early '50s, while the '60s are reflected in covers of Jimmy Driftwood's 'Long Chain On' and Porter Wagoner's 'I'll Go Down Swinging', as well as the surprising inclusion of Steppenwolf's 'Born to Be Wild'. Zoe/Rounder. 2005.

Amazon.com

Give the Carter Family a case of Budweiser and burning backbeat steeped in punk and roots rock and they might sound like the Knitters, a one-off (or so we thought), all-star outfit of old-time country attributions named in honor of fifties' folkies The Weavers. They're back, 20 years after the classic debut Poor Little Critter on the Road, with another batch of traditional takes on country standards and acoustically countrified versions of rock songs. Led by John Doe (with his delightfully tangled harmonies), and including Exene Cervenka, drummer D.J. Bonebrake of the renowned Los Angeles band X, and ex-Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin, the band transitions effortlessly from Critter to cover the Stanley Brothers ("Rank Stranger"), Porter Waggoner ("I'll Go Down Swinging") and Steppenwolf ("Born to Be Wild"), as well as revamp X favorites from the early ("In This House That I Call Home") and later ("Burning House of Love") days. A perfect link from Hank Williams through the Minutemen to alt-country vogue, let's hope the Knitters don't wait another two decades for the trifecta. --Scott Holter

Customer Reviews

Great album with awesome music.
Mark Udell
This is great roots rock served up with conviction by Ms. Cervenka, Mr. Doe, Mr. Alvin and the others.
S. Gowin
It's 20 years later and we have a new CD, and it's much better than the first one.
John Standiford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Standiford VINE VOICE on July 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Twenty years might seem a long time to wait between albums but that's the story of the Knitters, a fun, side project that features members of X and Dave Alvin. Twenty years ago, the Knitters formed, played a few gigs and released an album called Poor Little Critter on the Road. The reaction of some was that it was a novelty act, but in truth the Knitters were especially important in Los Angeles' music scene that was dominated by hardcore punk. The Knitters proved that country could be cutting edge and had more to say than many punk anthems.

You can do that when you have talented people like Dave Alvin, John Doe, Exene, Jonny Ray Bartel and DJ Bonebrake. You can they had so much fun with their first CD 20 years ago and it especially showed when they played live.

It's 20 years later and we have a new CD, and it's much better than the first one. This might be a fun side project but this is not a novelty CD. There are a number of amazing songs on this album including Give Me Flowers While I'm Living, Dry River, and Long Chain. The entire album is great and is a great showcase for these great musicians. I wholeheartedly recommend this CD and urge you to see this band live for the limited tour that they will embark upon. This is truly for a limited time only. Take advantage of it while you can.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christopher C. Wilson on August 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD
After a long stretch (over ten years) during which I only listened to Classical, this new release from "The Knitters" has renewed my love for the risk-taking, intelligent music of John Doe, Exene Cervenka, and D.J. Bonebrake (all three of "X", my all-time favorite band), who collaborate beautifully here with the guitar virtuoso Dave Alvin and bassist Johny Ray Bartel. Since X's punk music always was rooted in country (and often shared with it the themes of unrequited love, drunken loneliness, and desperation), the country idiom comes naturally to these musicians. Though often tinged with caustic humor, the songs are not a parody of country, but rather a respectful and imaginative reworking of the approaches of folks like Loretta Lynn or Johnny Cash and June Carter. How I love John and Exene's intriguing, immediately recognizable harmonies -- and though it's been 20 years since "The Knitters" last release, they sound fresh as ever.

May this recording bring new attention to these exceptionally talented invidiuals who, in careers spanning over two decades, have made enormous contributions to American music. I saw "The Knitters" live last night in Alexandria, VA, and was blown away by their energy, their distinctive sound and unpretentiously high level of artisty, and their good-natured humor and generosity with the audience. All those qualities come through on this disc. Get it -- you won't be disappointed.

Christopher Wilson, Virginia
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovins HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Who are The Knitters?... Well, you could say they are are talented group of artists who serves up delights that you'll have ringing in your heard for the next few days and weeks...Zoe and Rounder Records brings this latest release "THE MODERN SOUNDS OF THE KNITTERS", featuring Dave Alvin (electric/acoustic/steel body/baritone guitars), Jonny Ray Bartel (string bass), D.J. Bonebrake (snare drum/wash tub/percussion), Exene Cervenka (vocal) and John Doe (vocal/acoustic/slide guitars)...strong distinctive style that takes you back to the early days of Country and Folk Music...Americana roots and Zoe/Rounder have done more for the genre today than any other label that comes to mind...remember the likes when country and folk music was pure and not mixed with pop...The Knitters bring this album full circle, just the way we like 'em!

The album songs in alphabetical order and composers listed:

BORN TO BE WILD (Mars Bonifire)

BURNING HOUSE OF LOVE (Exene Cervenka/John Doe)

DRY RIVER (Dave Alvin)

EASY GOIN' SUNDAY (The Knitters)

GIVE ME FLOWERS WHILE I'M LIVING (Public Domain - arranged by Exene Cervenka)

I'LL GO DOWN SWINGING (Whispering Bill Anderson)

IN THIS HOUSE THAT I CALL HOME (Exene Cervenka/John Doe)

LITTLE MARGARET (traditional - arranged by John Doe)

LONG CHAIN ON (Jimmy Driftwood)

NEW CALL OF THE WRECKIN' BALL,THE (John Doe/Dave Alvin)

RANK STRANGER (Albert C. Brumley)

SKIN DEEP TOWN (Exene Cervenka/John Doe)

TRY ANYMORE (WHY DON'T WE EVEN) (John Doe)

There is a lonesome tone, a mood set between genres of rockbilly and blends of folk mixed with country-punk...
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Brown on July 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Bought this album in Seattle yesterday, and kept it in the CD Player all the way to Portland and back. Couldn't get enough of it!

Combine sharp sarcastic punk-style social commentary with old country standards, and you get the Knitters. Just like the musically talented alter-ego punk band 'X' which shares most of the same musicians, the Knitters are unknown by much of the Alt- Music mainstream, but are worth a hard listen - and purchase. A country fan may recognize the sound of old-time country or rockabilly guitar, but the lyrics to the Knitter's original songs can be a little less traditional, to say the least.

Certainly not over-produced, nor particularly refined, the Knitters have easily picked up where they left off 20 years ago with a combination of traditional country tunes and original country-style and punk songs, sung with the remarkable dissonent harmonies of Exene Cervenka and John Doe, and backed with an energetic band.

The Knitters will likely never be on the Country Music Awards (like it matters), but I can never get them out my head, or ear.

If you like alt music, either rock or Country, consider a listen to the Knitters or X. Both are alot of fun, with some good liberal social commentary mixed in. The only two Knitters albums appeared 20 years apart. Hope its much sooner before the next one!
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