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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DOUBLE THE PLEASURE
( THE PACKAGE ) - The re-release comes in a mini-box set format with a 52 page booklet, plenty of pictures and a good introduction by producer Pete Anderson. The album cover is misleading, but then again her last name is Shocked. So maybe it makes sense. If you're wondering about the orIginal cover with the policeman, don't worry none because he can be found on the...
Published on October 25, 2003 by Avalon Don

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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone
Obviously everyone else here loves this album, but as a more mainstream listener (take that however you want) it's a little crunchy. If you're looking for stimulating writing, here it is, but if you want a catchy tune, look elsewhere.
Published on December 8, 2008 by Joseph Miller


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DOUBLE THE PLEASURE, October 25, 2003
By 
Avalon Don "Avalon Don" (Huntington Beach, California United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
( THE PACKAGE ) - The re-release comes in a mini-box set format with a 52 page booklet, plenty of pictures and a good introduction by producer Pete Anderson. The album cover is misleading, but then again her last name is Shocked. So maybe it makes sense. If you're wondering about the orIginal cover with the policeman, don't worry none because he can be found on the backside. ( DISC# 1 ) Spanning the rock era for almost 50 years from Bill Haley to Dave Matthews, "Short, Sharp, Shocked" is one of the 5 best albums of all time. The songs range from rockabilly, folk, blues, country rock, and punk folk with superb continuity. The bluesy "Graffiti Limbo" is my personal highlight with Rod Piazza playing great harmonica complimenting Michelle's distinctive vocal style about a poor man who got no justice. The only lowlight on this album was the last song, the original hidden track "Fogtown". It's a straight punk number that didn't fit now or then. A better version can be found on "The Texas Campfire Takes". The sound quality on the 1st CD is a medium improvement from the original release. ( DISC #2 ) A very good selection of almost all acoustic live songs from festivals, shows and home recordings. The sound is 90% professional. The length - 79 minutes. Michelle shows off her down home side with fun conversation and stories between songs. The performances have a hootenanny feel more like "Arkansas Traveler", my favorite cut being "Strawberry Jam" which captures what a brilliant live performer Michelle Shocked is. ( CLOSING ) This woman from Texas has always challenged her fans by releasing something different. ( folk, roots, swing, bluesgrass, dark and gospel CD's ) "Short, Sharp, Shocked" is the definite starting point.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reissue, Bravo Michelle !, December 16, 2004
By 
LB (Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
In this reissue, she added a whole CD worth of bonus material. Great material too, and all for a reasonable price. I think I listen to Disc #2 as much or more than Disc #1. It came in a cool box with new liner notes. All handwritten it appears. I wonder if she did the writing herself?

I had the original back in 1989. It was a favorite back then. It's just one of those albums you can play over and over. Somehow, I sold it with my whole CD collection about 10 or 12 years ago.

Then, one day I was downloading some stuff on Kazaa and I ran across a couple of songs from the reissue and checked out Michelle's web site, because I hadn't followed her too closely in recent years.

Now, this is where the record companies got it wrong. They think everybody's just ripping the everything off. Well, not everyone. I bought this, BECAUSE I heard it on the internet! I feel it's worth every cent it cost. I happen to think that artists are entitled to the profit from their hard work. And the hard work is apparent here.

What makes this even better is the fact that Michelle fought for the rights to own her material and won. So I hope she'll stand to make what's due to her, instead of some record executives in LA. If you're thinking about getting this, don't hesitate. Because, you never know, it may go out of print again. Another two thumbs up. Happy listening!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic work, April 7, 2001
By 
Tyler Smith (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
It's a mystery as to why an album of this quality is an import, but we'll lay that aside for the purposes of this review. The essential point is that Ms. Shocked produced, with "Short, Sharped Shocked," an album of uncommon lyrical poignancy and hard-edged musicality.
The power of this album lies in Shocked's wonderful voice, which serves a broad variety of musical styles. There is the hard-core rock of "When I Grow Up" and "If Love Was a Train," the talking blues of "Graffiti Limbo," the folk strains of "Anchorage" and "Memories of East Texas," and the mountain melancholy of "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore."
Shocked's voice is wonderfully expressive, and the arrangements allow her to tell her stories in a way that draws us into her many musical worlds. There are so many high points on the album that one hesitates to single out a single cut, but "Anchorage," for me, symbolizes Shocked's musical power.
The song is about the writer taking "some time out" to write to her old friend, who has moved to Anchorage and taken up a new life as a "housewife," as she describes herself. It takes great skill for a songwriter to duplicate the rhythms of everyday speech, but Shocked accomplishes it in her song, which captures the pleasure of discovering a friend's new life at the same time that one feels the pain of realizing that friend has moved on. It's a great performance.
Why do so many American artists only find recognition of foreign labels? Maybe that's a new song for Michelle Shocked to explore. In the meantime, do her and yourself a favor and buy this CD.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Original talent...God This Woman is Talented!, November 5, 2004
By 
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
I ordered this on a whim based on other reviews. What a great purchase, and what an addition to my music library. I sat on my porch here and savored each song...having lived in Texas, having been to the Paradiso in Amsterdam, having lived in Atlanta and been to the old (sigh) Metroplex (God I'm old)...having...well, you get the idea...in other words, this CD touched me, which doesn't happen often. Thank you Michelle for such a wonderful production. Keep up the good work, I'm planning on buying more an more of your music...you are truly talented. HIGHLY recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where do you go...when there ain't no justice?, April 8, 2007
By 
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
Michelle Shocked has a tremendous talent. Thankfully, it is hard to categorize in a word or two. Her ability to stretch the boundaries between musical genres (folk, swing, rock, bluegrass) did not sit well with her one-time record company. After a handful of recordings, Shocked's label dropped her due to 'artistic incongruity' or some such nonsense. She hit them back with a lawsuit citing conditions of involuntary servitude. This disrupted her recordings being released for awhile. In the end we all lost, in a way, because such an episode disturbs the natural flow of a career, and interrupts the artistic process. Recordings become harder to find, the relationship between artist and audience is thwarted. Such is life, sometimes.

Short, Sharp, Shocked (1986) was the first of a trilogy of albums recorded for Mercury/Polygram. If Shocked were ever to fit into the quasi-structural mold of singer-songwriter, it would have been with this release. Her folk-pop roots shine in autobiographical songs like "Memories of East Texas" and "Anchorage," and in her effective interpretation of Jean Ritchie's classic "The L&N Don't Stop Herre Anymore."

Shocked is a gifted songwriter. She can write overtly political material that will not hit you over the head with overbearing self-righteousness. She never loses sight of her senses of humor and irony. Note the gracefulness of her lyrics in "When I Grow Up," "Grafitti Limbo," or "Gladewater."

That Shocked never broke out into the national consciousness like Suzanne Vega or even Fiona Apple is perplexing. Such a dilemma poses the question: "Where do you go...when there ain't no justice?"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars short, sharp, and shocking, June 18, 2001
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
I first came across Michelle Shocked in the soundtrack album to "Dead Man Walking". I was impressed by what I can only describe as her honesty; but never bothered to look for any of her other works. Then I heard a group of friends play "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" at a local coffeehouse... and I just had to know whose arrangement it was. Turns out they had borrowed most of it from this album, and so my search for "Short, Sharp, Shocked" began. It's sad that an album of this calibre can't be found in stores anymore...
I'm not a country music fan at all, but then again, I don't think that Michelle Shocked's music can be contained entirely in that category - this is a CD that caters to just about all tastes, ranging from country/folk/bluegrass to blues to punk/rock... and beyond.
"Short, Sharp, Shocked" has more raw emotion and less pretense than any other album I can think of. Shocked's lyrical and musical simplicity allows her to convey her messages and tell her tales with an open honesty (complete with all the ironies of life) so seldom found in popular music anywhere.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely - on my top 10 all time list !, January 3, 2001
By 
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
One of my favorite albums since a stellar review by Rolling Stone (or Spin) in 1988. Has the amazingly rare ability to be played over and over - which, to me, proves its greatness. I do not like country music at all. Her music might seem like country with casual listening, but it's more. My other favorite artists (noting that Michelle's other albums are fine,and occasionally excellent but none can really compare) are mostly 'boy bands' such as metallica, sonic youth, the clash, velvet underground/lou reed, neil young, grateful dead, janes addiction, superchunk, archers of loaf, beastie boys to name a few. The only other 'girl music' I really like is Gillian Welch. That's another story. Anyway, if you're even to this page already - just buy it. Don't let it get away. (she should send me a buck for this gaudy endorsement, don't you think?) One more note - about the last song on the album...If you don't like punk, skip it every time you play the record. I think it's fun and an interesting contrast (it is a punked-up cover of a much more sedate original version.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best Michelle Shocked album, April 2, 2002
By 
Catherine S. Vodrey (East Liverpool, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
Michelle Shocked had done an album before "Short, Sharp, Shocked" called "The Texas Campfire Tapes," but this is the first one by which a greater audience came to know her. It's still her best album.
Opening with "When I Grow Up," Shocked sounds as though she transcribed verbatim the childhood marital and family wishes of a four-year old. Talking about her "120 babies," Shocked sings, "We're gonna give 'em that watermelon/When they start yellin'." Hilarious stuff that she sings completely straight, the song moves beyond its potential as a novelty throwaway and becomes a gloriously Henri-Rousseau-like aural painting about adulthood.
"Hello Hopeville" starts out with rhythmic guitar work that puts the listener in mind of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash or even Waylon Jennings, but then she comes in with that distinctive, wry, wiry voice of hers and you are completely seduced. A terrific narrative about a young man going in to register for the draft (or just sign up for military service--it's not completely clear), this is a story in and of itself and stands on its own even without the backing music.
In "Memories of East Texas" and "(Making the Run to) Gladewater," Shocked pays tribute to her Texas childhood and youth. The former is a subtle, yearning look at the years of growing up and the odd things one remembers--like cutting through someone's pasture when the water ran too deep out on the road after a heavy rain. In the latter, Shocked cuts loose to yowl happily about the high school habit of trying to buy beer before the store closes:
"Now, fair is fair but life's a gamble
When it's eleven forty-five
And it's a toss of a coin to see who's got
Fifteen minutes to make a thirty-minute drive . . .
Here's what you do
You hustle all your buddies off
the back of your truck
You grab your girl and say, 'Come on, let's--'
But it's okay, you're on your way
You lost the toss
You're taking the money
You're making the run to Gladewater."
"If Love Was a Train" and "V. F. D" (about kids setting fires in dry grass) are both stand-out songs as well. The only song that doesn't seem to fit is the head-banging "Black Widow," but since it's the last song on the album, it's easy to skip. Shocked's voice throughout is by turns saucy, meditative, serene, and all-around gorgeous. Hard to beat an album this good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, May 2, 2003
By 
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
I had first heard of Michelle Shocked when I read a review of her album "Deep Natural" in the Minneapolis paper. I bought the album and loved it, but I was not able to find any more of her albums in a store (and have not purchased any online). Recently I borrowed two Michelle Shocked albums from the public library. I have since had "Short Sharp Shocked" constantly playing in my cd player.
This album has a bluesy, down home folk funk sound to it. It is fairly hard to describe, but I think that is a good thing. Michelle Shocked has a wonderful sound and I appreciate the fact that it can't really be pigeonholed. There is a power in Shocked's voice. "Anchorage" is one of my favorite tracks from the album, but there is no song that I really don't like on this gem. Great album and definitely worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roots of 'Americana', January 7, 2009
By 
Carsten Knoch (Toronto, ON Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Short Sharp Shocked (Audio CD)
Some of the most memorable music from the 1980s, for me at least, stems from this album (and that's perhaps because none of it sounds like the 80s at all). Michelle Shocked appeared, pretty much out of nowhere, in the mid-80s after she was "field recorded" at a folk festival on a Sony Walkman (the recording was eventually released as her first album, The Texas Campfire Tapes). Michelle had a beautiful, blues/country voice, big Dr. Martens boots, skinny jeans, a short haircut and all that mystique of having lived on a houseboat in Holland and as a squatter. She was generally both politically to the far left of the spectrum and very musical at the same time, something I remember finding quite irresistible back in the day.

Short Sharp Shocked, her second record, was a polished affair, as country as it was folk or rock. The opener, "When I Grow Up," has served as my preferred track to test new stereos for years - the rumbling double bass has to be heard to be believed. What makes Michelle Shocked special, though, are her songwriting abilities - and her voice. Pitched slightly deeper than your average country singer from Texas, she had more of the blues (and, perhaps, less of the victim) in her voice. She also sounded much, much wiser and more experienced than her 26 years when Short Sharp Shocked appeared in 1988. The story goes that Michelle Shocked had seen both the inside of a mental institution and traveled the world - both things that come out in the lyrics here.

In a way, Michelle is the fore-runner from "my" generation (who came of age in the 1980s) to prioneer the so-called alt-country movement. Where Dwight Yoakam revolutionized country music by staying firmly in a country idiom, Michelle Shocked re-rooted folk and rock as Americana. Of course, this isn't surprising: Short Sharp Shocked was produced by Pete Anderson, Yoakam's long-time guitar cohort and producer. Listen to "(Making The Run To) Gladewater," where she's a perfect female ringer for Yoakam's California honky tonk. Her country timing is impeccable, and listening to her you know that she's spent countless hours making beer runs on the bumpy backs of pickup trucks across rugged Texas terrain.

Above all, though, Michelle Shocked is about her activism - even her introspection on tracks like the radio single "Anchorage" is essentially commentary on the state of the world. The "Leroy says..." sequence in its lyrics is both an indictment of certain life choices and a passionate feminist statement. "Fogtown," the hidden track at the end, establishes her punk cred by virtue of having been recorded with punk band MDC. The original "Fogtown" appeared on Texas Campfire and is a lot gentler, but its re-make here shows Michelle as versatile in the way of a troubadour, a bard for whom the message is what's important, not any false notion of stylistic integrity. (Plus, she always looked more punk than country, anyway.)

Shocked's long journey out of record label 'slavery' is well-documented on Wikipedia and elsewhere. She now owns her complete catalogue and continues to evolve as a musician, regularly releasing the kinds of records she reportedly wanted to make when she was still with a major label - like a gospel CD.

For me, it's a toss-up whether her magnum opus is Short Sharp Shocked or Arkansas Traveler, which features cameos from such luminaries as Uncle Tupelo, Taj Mahal and Clarence Gatemouth Brown. If Shocked is her early work of countrified political activism, Arkansas showcases a more fully-formed Americana renaissance woman who easily collaborates with the previous generation while simultaneously forging a new genre (it's key to remember that Arkansas Traveler came out in 1992 - well before alt country became a genre people talked about).
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Short Sharp Shocked
Short Sharp Shocked by Michelle Shocked (Audio CD - 1988)
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