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One Foot in the Grave

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Audio CD, June 14, 1994
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Product Description

Beck One Foot In The Grave US CD album

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Before "Loser" skyrocketed him into the pop-star stratosphere, Beck recorded this album of lo-fi tunes and ballads in the basement of K Records founder Calvin Johnson. This largely acoustic LP is a snapshot of the troubadour life Beck led when he was more likely to be found Dumpster-diving than predicting the Zeitgeist. The backwoods folk of "He's a Mighty Good Leader" and Delta blues of "Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods" shows past intent study of American traditional music, whereas the cynical critique of California culture voiced in "Cyanide Breath Mint" highlights the lyrical agility of a postpunk poet. In a tribute to the virtues of this album's simplicity, rocker Tom Petty covered "Asshole" with remarkable restraint, leaving the pleasures of the three-chord lament intact. As Beck morphs his way into the cultural landscape, this record lets us know that at least he has roots somewhere. --Lois Maffeo

1. He's A Mighty Good Leader
2. Sleeping Bag
3. I Get Lonesome
4. Burnt Orange Peel
5. Cyanide Breath Mint
6. See Water
7. Ziplock Bag
8. Hollow Leg
9. Forcefield
10. Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods
11. Asshole
12. I've Seen The Land Beyond
13. Outcome
14. Girl Dreams
15. Painted Eyelids
16. Atmospheric Conditions

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 14, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: K. Records
  • ASIN: B000003RN0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,726 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 5, 1999
Format: Audio CD
People, people, people... A word of caution: this is a mostly ACOUSTIC record. It doesn't have the hip dance beats and sample-heavy tracks like "Odelay." It is also VERY lo-fi and sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom. However, this is a masterpiece. It may seem a little weird and unaccessable after the first few listens, but when it clicks, be prepared to be blown away. The songs have genuine emotion and are extremely well-written. I have yet to find a more honest song than "Girl Dreams" in my life that sums up the feelings of rejection without resorting to "f you" and the sorts... If you liked "Mutations," you should enjoy this album. Listen to the sound samples on amazon for chrissakes, then decide if it is something you might enjoy. "One foot in the grave" is one of my favorites, and the only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is because everything on amazon gets 5 stars. I feel that this imho is not on the level of the best records of all time, but a worthy addition to the collection of anyone who loves music.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By T.A. on May 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
While all of the preppy kids were jamming to "Loser," Beck released two more CD's almost simultaneously with MELLOW GOLD. One was STEREOPATHETIC SOUL MANURE (see reviews), the other was this compilation of folk tracks, mis-titled, ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE. Excluding "Burnt Orange Peel," this is a CD full of songs right out of a Southern Baptist hymnal. The music, almost entirely acoustic, is tradtitional as can be, and the lyrics are stellar. The warped thing is how Beck weaves his modern day dimentia into these neoclassical hymns ("There's blood on the futon...there's a kid drinking fire."), and how he projects his own dismal outlook on our preppy society ("I got a funny feeling they got plastic in the afterlife"), yet, the songs still will fool your grandmother. Quite a few of the tunes consist of Beck, by himself, with an acoustic guitar, and no digital effects or overdubs. Songs like "Hollow Log" are crafted so beautifully, as though they could be played on ANY instrument and still sound good. By no means were these guys just screwing around in the studio...there are too many gems on this CD, and too much talent (fellow Texan Chris Ballew of "The Pres. of the USA" accompanies on many of the tunes). This CD can turn any hard rocker into an avid folk listener...the songs are too genuine to ignore. TRY THIS--listen to this CD in an old pick-up truck with no AC driving through Oklahoma, Kansas or Nebraska, and tell me the Spirit doesn't move you...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By wally gator on April 20, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Months ago I was talking up this album to a few peeps who missed it in its first run. One Foot in The Grave by Beck is one of those rare gems of an album that always remains under the radar. I picked up this album on the cheap years ago on LP and expected just another odd ball collection of Beck basement tapes. What I got was a timeless classic of an album, easily in a class of its own compared to the rest of Becks unique and varied catalouge and probably one of my top five favorite albums either from the nineties or amomgst the folk blues giants of old. Brilliant lo fi blues and folk, this is his talent in its rawest and purest form, free from the synth, broken game boy, drum machine vibes that swarm all of his other titles (even the other folk albums like Sea Change or Mutations cant match the atmosphere on this bit).

One Foot has been out of print for some time, leaving it only for the memories of us kids who were fortunate enough to find it accidently sometime in our high school haze... now its back. Twice as stuffed and just as good. The original sixteen tracks have been expanded to thirty-two, and the bonus cuts are just as rewarding as the originals, including a few coffee shop cut takes of songs that would be found on later albums. Its ccol to see that Beck still has this style in him. While I've always enjoyed the frenetic space race beats, and manic feel of the production on other Beck materials this album manages to bring all that feel to the table with nothing but soft twangs, sideways harmony, and bizarre yet poignant commentary of the world as he see it. It never finds itself ever disjointed like his other underground discs, song for song its a flawless portrait. I say this one still remains his all time best. Get it now while its still visible.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Greg Brady on April 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This will PROBABLY not be embraced by the Beck fans who love "Loser","Lost Cause" and "Devil's Haircut". It's far from the genre-stitching alt-rock that's made him a household name. Here, Mr. Hansen does a bare-bones album that's mostly him and an acoustic or slide guitar performing songs that sound like they've been pulled out of a Coen brothers movie (albeit with dramatically switched lyrics)...traditional folk and blues sounds although only a couple are covers.

HIGHLIGHTS:
"He's a Mighty Good Leader" is a cover of an old Skip James blues number ("Jesus is a Mighty Good Leader") with a verse removed. Maybe Beck was afraid of offending his fans of other religions? "Cyanide Breath Mint" is a veiled dig at the record industry ("They got people to meet/Shaking hands with themselves/Looking out for themselves")"Hollow Log" uses plenty of traditional blues imagery ('get yourself a pistol','stay up all night gettin' drunk') though it's not a real 12 bar, per se. It's more of a "bluesy" folk song that's very nicely done. "***hole" is probably the closest to his latter day material Beck gets in that it's more produced (shaker,tambourine, a vocal that might be doubletracked, vocal "ooh"s) along with a great lyric about being dominated emotionally in a relationship.("She dangles carrots, makes you feel embarrassed/To be the fool you know you are")"I've Seen the Land Beyond" is faux gospel that sounds like something Woody Guthrie might have written. "Fourteen Rivers, Fourteen Floods" has been described on several Beck sites as a Mississippi John Hurt cover, but I can't seem to find a song by that title or with similar lyrics. Perhaps it's his STYLE but a Beck original? Nice slow Delta style blues with ringing slide guitar and Beck stomping his foot to accompany it.
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