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Rock N Roll Singer


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Audio CD, August 15, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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It was only a matter of time before Red House Painters leader Mark Kozelek struck out on his own for a stretch. Awaiting the release of an already recorded sixth RHP album, Old Ramon, Kozelek decided to show his playful side with a loose collection of tunes that range from three AC/DC covers to a John Denver cut to several acoustic numbers that showcase his dexterous finger-picking and warm-as-the-summer-sun voice. "Ruth Marie"--a touching remembrance of a friend's grandmother withering away in a nursing home--is the obvious standout. But surprisingly, Kozelek also wrings genuine pathos from the three AC/DC tunes as well. The title track is armed with drums and distorted guitars, but the melody is rewritten and the tune slowed to a crawl, transforming from a braggadocio anthem ("Gonna be a rock 'n' roll singer / Gonna be a rock n' roll star") to a wistful bedroom dream. "Bad Boy Boogie" and especially "You Ain't Got a Hold on Me" become earnest folk songs meant for the ages. Weird but essential. --Rob O'Connor

1. Find Me, Ruben Olivares
2. Rock n' Roll Singer
3. You Ain't Got a Hold On Me
4. Metropol 47
5. Around and Around
6. Bad Boy Boogie
7. Ruth Marie

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 15, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: August 29, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Badman Records
  • ASIN: B00004TVBW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,288 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan J. Casey on September 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Mark Kozelek keeps up the good work that he started on the Red House Painters album "Songs for a Blue Guitar." While the odd covers thing is bordering on schtick- he pulls it off so well that I can't criticize him for it. The three originals here are great, too. I especially like "Find Me, Ruben Olivares" (which already appeared on the Shanti project compilation) and "Metropol 47" which features a nice soundboard tap beat. AC/DC's "Rock n' Roll Singer" is the only electric track here, and sounds a lot like his cover of "Silly Love Songs." It's not the best thing he's done, but not so awful as to detract from the overall quality of this brief record. "You Ain't Got a Hold On Me" is another AC/DC cover, this time sung in a falsetto I've never heard Kozelek use before. I love it I love it I love it. This is a perfect, painfully liberating song. "Around and Around" is a John Denver tune that is touching and (dare I say it?) confessional in a way that balances the bitterness of some of the other songs. As always, Kozelek's guitar playing is great: never settling for tired chord progressions, and varied enough to stay interesting. Like Neil Young, I've felt that Kozelek tends to repeat himself (recycling tunes for different lyrics), but that's avoided here. Mark Kozelek has developed a sound that's gorgeous and eloquent. Maybe the man doesn't fit the music (I remember watching him on stage with a black flying-v heavy metal guitar in utter horror) but this is absolutely great music.
RIYL: Nick Drake, Ida, His Name Is Alive, Damien Jurado, etc.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Crosbie on September 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Being a Red House Painters fan, I could not wait for this album. A little taster before the has-to-be-classic-not-yet-released "Old Ramon", this is another testament to Mark Kozelek's huge talent. 7 songs, 4 covers, and one of the most beautiful songs ever written - but I'll get to that.
The album starts with "Find Me, Ruben Olivares", which RHP fans should already have on the "Shanti Project" CD. Featuring some great finger-picking and a wonderful melody, this is the first of only 3 Kozelek originals on the album. But no matter, the covers are so far removed from the originals, they may as well be self penned. The 3 AC/DC covers are great, the best being the title track. The only weak moment is "Bad Boy Boogie", not a bad version itself, it just drags a bit. A John Denver cover and another harmonised orignal, Metropol 47 (featuring some odd percussion!) follow, before we get to "Ruth Marie". This song is probably the most beautiful, sad, and touching song you'll hear - written from the point of view of an old woman in a nursing home. Just a guitar and Mark's warm, full voice is all it needs.
This CD is definitely worth owning in you like RHP, and worth getting if you like acoustic guitar music. What would have made it even better would have been the inclusion of the 3 other songs on the "Shanti Project" CD - it would be great to have all these songs together.
So come on, release "Old Ramon"!! Whoever's delaying that album's release should listen to this and wise up.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris MB on September 25, 2001
Format: Audio CD
As a musician - a guitarist, no less - I never would have thought of taking a few old AC/DC tunes and recording them with an acoustic guitar. It's just crazy enough to work. And it does.
All the songs on Rock N Roll singer are wonderful, especially the title track and `Find Me Ruben Olivares'. The only criticism I have is that he's so restrained when performing. While I have no doubt that a great amount of emotion went into these recordings, there's not much evidence of that in the final product.
Rock N Roll singer is a fine effort. More AC/DC covers can be found on his other solo release, What's Next To The Moon. Not to be missed for Red House Painters or AC/DC fans.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. Shane Clark on July 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Just a beautiful, beautiful album of music. The man's voice is like seaglass -- worn, smooth, full of travel. Do yourself a favor and buy this album.
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