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The Secondman's Middle Stand

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Audio CD, August 24, 2004
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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
  1. boilin' blazes (Album Version) 5:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. puked to high heaven (Album Version) 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. burstedman (Album Version) 5:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. tied a reed 'round my waist (Album Version) 5:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. pissbags and tubing (Album Version) 6:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. beltsandedman (Album Version) 6:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. the angels gate (Album Version) 6:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. pluckin', pedalin' and paddlin' (Album Version) 7:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. pelicanman (Album Version) 5:58$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 24, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Red Int / Red Ink
  • ASIN: B0002NRR6U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,035 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leopold Stotch on August 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Watt's third solo thing definitely finds his chops undiminished: this time fronting an organ/drums combo, his bass does double duty as a lead and harmony instrument, while Pete Mazich conjurs a stunning array of textures and sounds from the B3. The more spacious, modal sections tell the world that Watt's got Coltrane's "Love Supreme" on his turntable non-stop. Instrumentally, this is a mighty disk...and yet...

Lyrically it's a tougher sell: the album is a conceptual work about the awful abcess that infected his perineum, and burst, leading to very, very dire flu-like symptoms that consumed our poor Watt. He emerged healthy, but atrophied somewhat, and a lot slimmer than we may remember him. I'm glad he recovered...but an entire album about this ordeal? Yes it was a life-changing event, but can it be related to an audience, no matter how devoted?

Alas, I don't think it can. Watt's last album took a very specific story (that of his father's trials in the Navy) and brilliantly telescoped it, using it to fashion parables that are relateable on many levels. This work is so Watt-centric that it's hard for me to find it relevant. And I'm a big fan. And while "Contemplating the Engine Room" ran on sing-song melodies that suited Watt's limited vocal range quite well, here he's shouting and pinching his voice oddly...perhaps another singer, one with more distance from the subject, could make this work better...

That being said, there's much to enjoy. Some of the lyrics are typically brilliantly, poetically Watt. As a whole, though, it's so inward-facing that it disconnects from the a love letter and a thank you note to those who helped him with his illness, it's wonderful. As an album, well...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Allan MacInnis on September 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Great to have a new Watt album. If you've not bought any of his solo stuff, you should realize that they're amazing albums, being somewhat neglected by the herd in general, but as strong and exciting as anything being done in the world o' rock today (which is generally a graveyard, but still). However, you should probably start with his guest-star-studded BALL HOG or, for something more Watt-centric, CONTEMPLATING THE ENGINE ROOM, both of which are really exciting discoveries and immediately strike you with their rightness and force. Newbies might want to hold off on this new one for a little bit, tho', unless there's some pressing need to know the songs before seeing a Watt gig: there are definitely things I like about this third solo disc (the use of organ as a lead instrument, say, which, I've decided after a few days, does sound pretty damn cool, if unusual -- anyone who likes organ in rock, even, uh, progrock fans, might find cause for delight here) but the first reaction is kinda one of puzzlement, because the subject matter is a little, uh, odd: this is a rock opera based on Watt's 2000 "internal abscess" in his perineum (which got very serious, because doctors missed it), his subsequent surgery, and recovery. There are a few references to Dante, but mostly this is a pretty personal document of something that most people...just...don't write rock operas about. (The one about his father had a universal appeal, because we all have fathers; maybe if I'd had surgery at some point I'd be more easily won here). Don't get me wrong, I kind of like it -- esp. the tunes "Pissbags and Tubing" and the nicely-textured "Pelicanman;" and musically one feels like it does WORK -- but I don't fully GET it as of yet; gonna be spinning it for awhile before I feel like I understand it.Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Troy Collins on August 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Erstwhile bassist of the legendary Minutemen and fIREHOSE continues his solo career with another autobiographical album. His third solo album, "The Secondman's Middle Stand" takes conceptual cues from his previous release, "Contemplating the Engine Room." This time out, Watt documents his recent near-fatal illness.

A misdiagnosed injury, an infected and burst perenium, almost bought Watt the farm back in 2001. Not easily daunted, Watt decided to use the experience as content for an album. While recovering from a bout with pneumonia in his 20s, Watt first read Dante's "Divine Comedy." During his current recovery he revisited it and decided that it was an apt allegory to his recent predicament.

Structurally, the album, like "The Inferno," is divided into three main sections: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven - three songs for each section, nine in all. Musically, "The Secondman's Middle Stand" is unlike anything Watt has previously attempted. Joined only by Hammond organ and drums, there is no guitar. Its presence is hardly missed, however. Since the Hammond can handle both chordal and bass note duties, this frees up Watt to do more lead work and vary his bass sound in new ways.

Sonically, the trio rumbles along like a veritable class in rock history. These three conjure up as much diversity of sound as Watt's debut solo album "Ball Hog or Tugboat" did with a cast of dozens. For example: "The Angels Gate" takes off like a punked up prog-rock take on Motorhead's "Ace of Spades." On the other hand, "Pluckin', Pedalin' and Paddlin" is about as down home folksy as you can get. In between these two extremes lies a cut like "Beltsandedman" with it's post-modern distorted modal drone and disassociated vocals.
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