4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2004
Jonathan at (maybe) his most childlike and at yet at the same time his most rockin, rockin in an acoustic fashion that is. I think he might have called it at the time the first all acoustic rock album. Anyway its him and his band in a room with a nice echo playing together with great empathy. This record is all about room feel and the sound of a band playing live, getting it together in a room, like an early rolling stones recording in mono. Its a great album, just look at the cover, how could you go wrong? Nice mastering on the c.d. as well. Recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2004
Definitely one of my favorite Jonathan albums, probably only second to the "Pablo Picasso" era Modern Lovers. I was lucky enough to find a Beserkley copy on cd before it went out of print & got very collectible. Even if you paid alot for it on Ebay you still need to get this though. The bonus track is the full version of "Dodge Veg-o-matic" with Jonathan's ad-libbed spoken word intro which was only available on the "Beserkley Years" compilation in the cd era. The artwork is what really sets these Castle versions apart. Aside from the obligatory essay by someone you may or may not have heard of, the booklet features pictures & clippings, most of which I have never seen before in ten years of collecting cds. The merits of remastering are up for debate as far as I'm concerned, but if it matters to you, at least psychologically you'll notice the difference. As for why it's one of my favorites, I think the sound has alot to do with it, the vocals recorded in the bathroom a la Jim Morrison on "L.A. Woman". Also, his song selection was amazing. He went from the school bus to church to China to South America for good songs, & his originals have all the spirit & energy of a campfire singalong. The atmosphere in that room must have electric, even if the instrumentation was acoustic.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2005
I NICKED THIS ALBUM FROM MY COLLEGE RADIO STATION AROUND 1985 OR SO. THIS AND THE FIRST JESUS AND MARY CHAIN LP WERE PRACTICALY THE ONLY THINGS I LISTENED TO SOPHOMORE YEAR. GOD,I WAS DEPRESSED. ANYWAY, THIS RECORD USE TO CHEER ME UP. EVERYONE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO LISTEN TO THIS RECORD BEFORE BEING PRESCRIBED PROZAC. IF 'ROLLERCOASTER BY THE SEA' DOSENT CHEER YOU UP, THEN TAKE THE GAS PIPE.
on August 11, 2011
A terrific & fun album. I bought it on vinyl, back in the early 1980s. I knew nothing about the group or the album, except that I'd read in Trouser Press or somewhere that they were a seminal influence on punk rock. If you're familiar with this album, you can guess that I was left feeling very puzzled about the punk connection. But I learned to love the album nonetheless. And years later, I heard the original album by original line-up, and the punk connection became clear. (Indeed, I even recognized Roadrunner on that album from an old Sex Pistols soundtrack, where they attempt to play the song, but abort it because Johnny Rotten doesn't know the words ...beyond a line or two.) Anyway, I even brought this album to college where I played it for friends in the dorm -- many dug the Dodge-Veg-O-Matic song, but I don't think anybody ever quite warmed to The Ice Cream Man. So I do recommend the album, but people should know it sounds nothing like the first Modern Lovers album. It does sound like later Jonathan Richman albums, however. And, you might recognize the instrumentals from public radio music buttons. (Btw, there's also a terrific video of Egyptian Reggae on YouTube -- it's some kind of costume dance done to the song on stage by unknown performers. Check it out.) And check out the album too!
on June 8, 2015
It's a CD and it plays beautifully.
on August 29, 2007
My favorite JR & the MLs album, and one of my desert island essentials. Listening always makes me smile.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2013
It's a crying shame that so many of Jonathan Richman's early albums with the Modern Lovers are out of print. Kudos to Amazon for at least making this one available in mp3 format. Please do the same for Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers (the previous album) and Modern Lovers Live! (the subsequent one), and I'll be very happy. Jonathan is one of those artists who is hard to categorize (a riddle wrapped in an enigma, as they say). His early work with the Modern Lovers was stripped-down hard rock heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground and in turn heavily influential to the up-and-coming punk scene (though the Lovers sounded nothing like punk, they did have a DIY aesthetic and spare sound that resonated with punks). Then, in what has to be the most extreme stylistic shift in the history of rock music, Jonathan switched his style to quiet mostly-acoustic songs more reminiscent of children's music than to anything you could call rock. This album (Rock and Rock with the Modern Lovers) was the second he recorded in this style, and he's pretty much kept to this ever since. Why he didn't rename the band is a mystery (all the original members except for him were gone by this time), but probably is just Jonathan's way of having some fun by thwarting our expectations. In fact, even the name of this album is misleading; these songs don't sound anything like any rock and roll you are probably used to. There are several instrumentals or near-instrumentals, and most of the other songs are more like children's music than rock. I think this is intentional; the title is either ironic or subversive (who says that children's music _can't_ be rock and roll, huh?). Regardless of this, try to approach the music with an open mind and you'll be rewarded. I think of this style as "children's music for adults"; what children's music would be if it were 1000 times better than any children's music you've ever heard. Jonathan sings with childlike wonder and delight, evoking images of a simpler time. Sure, his singing is nasal and occasionally slightly out-of-tune, and the band was apparently recorded in a bathroom, but that just adds to the DIY charm. And the songs are amazing! They combine goofy, funny and painfully sincere lyrics with great tunes, and there is not one bad song in the bunch. I particularly like "Roller Coaster By The Sea", "Rockin' Rockin' Leprechauns" (who have apparently come back to rock and roll), and the classic "Ice Cream Man", which he would expand to about seven minutes on the "Modern Lovers Live!" album by way of a ridiculous number of encores. I only recently rediscovered Jonathan's music because I have a two-year-old son, and somehow these tunes are great for both of us to listen to. If you have a toddler, I would recommend this album; it sure is more fun than listening to Raffi over and over. And even if you don't, you should still get it, because Jonathan is singing to the child inside each of us, and nobody does it better than he does.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
See my review of "Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers" for the circumstances under which I first encountered this album in 1978. Here Jonathan cut back on amplification even more than on that previous album, so that the thing really sounds like it was recorded in a garage. And that's just what he wanted. It was always a simple joy to put this on for anyone in the 70s, which were all about tremendous stereo sound, and see them react to the incredibly lo-fi sound that defied all expectations about what rock music was supposed to be about. We start to get into real folk without the rock here; the album starts with an instrumental called "The Sweeping Wind", which is just a sweet acoustic guitar lead over strummed guitar and a bargain-basement drum kit. With the second track "Ice Cream Man", you know we're going to get into deep childhood reminiscence. Back then, so many 20-somethings did NOT want to do that (that's probably always been true) and so they started to HATE the new Jonathan, who, to them, showed such promise with his early 70s pre-punk primitivism. This was primitivism of a different sort, a return to childhood, and I remember several reviews calling it just "stupid". You want stupid? I'll show you stupid. Try the next track "Rockin' Rockin' Leprechauns", wherein this happens: "In the park, nearly dark, what do I now hear; hark, hark, is it really leprechauns, and have they come back to rock 'n' roll? Yes, it's them, they're on the lawn, been so long since they've been gone. Mother nature's leprechauns have come back to rock 'n' roll. Dadada dun da da da da da da da....." This is childish stupidity in your face, and a soul-winning anthem for those of us who challenge the self-conscious pseudo-seriousness of the arbiters of cool in any era. "Summer Morning", "Afternoon", and "Fly Into the Mystery" round out Side 1, each a visceral and joyful appreciation of what is right in front of you. "Fly Into the Mystery" deserves special mention for its stupid funny "It's 8 o'clock in Boston, and some boyfriend has just lost his girlfriend. Funny now, she was just here a minute ago. [soulfully] She must have gone away." Side two celebrates the Dodge Veg-O-Matic, which is here in the parking lot and doesn't go anywhere, but "I like this car a lot". The minor third Richman hits on the second note of "lot" here has always struck me as an integral expression of....something. There's nice bonus extended version on the CD. Just to emphasize the childishness of it all, a version of the children's song "The Wheels on the Bus" is included, with a catchy "town now, town now" chorus, and echoing "Amazing Grace" on the previous album, the vinyl version closes out with "Angels Watching Over Me". Indeed they were, Jonathan, indeed they were.