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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars put this tiger in your tank
This is yet another tremendous Neko Case release, and her first official live record (unless you count OTHER WOMEN with her Corn Sisters cohort Carolyn Mark). Though it's a short cd, it succeeds on many levels in showing the full range of Neko's talents. Two new songs, co-written with Canada's finest band, The Sadies, stand out. "If You Knew" is an upbeat lament about a...
Published on November 10, 2004 by Fred Rudofsky

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE TIGERS SPOKE TO ME
I had never heard of Neko Case until a few months back I heard her interviewed on NPR and they talked about the then new album The Tigers Have Spoken. She sounded like so interesting and the songs so haunting I bought the CD.

The only reason I did not give the album 4 stars was solely on technical grounds. This is a live indie album and the recordings a just...
Published on October 14, 2005 by Lee Lackey


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars put this tiger in your tank, November 10, 2004
By 
Fred Rudofsky (upstate NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
This is yet another tremendous Neko Case release, and her first official live record (unless you count OTHER WOMEN with her Corn Sisters cohort Carolyn Mark). Though it's a short cd, it succeeds on many levels in showing the full range of Neko's talents. Two new songs, co-written with Canada's finest band, The Sadies, stand out. "If You Knew" is an upbeat lament about a naive love, while the title track is an allegory (perhaps) about not only how we treat this planet's most beautiful creatures but how we humans have lost something in the quest to be civilized. Always an amazing interpreter, like Emmylou Harris, Neko can find a song and make it her own. "Soulful Shade of Blue" and "The Train from Kansas City" sound like nuggets from the golden age of radio in the late 1960's--Neko's voice soars and entices while joined by the Sadies and Carolyn Mark and Kelly Hogan on harmonies. Hearing Neko tear it up on the garage classic "Loretta" and minutes later paying tribute to Loretta Lynn herself (a kickass rendition of "Rated X") is revelatory about how diverse and classy Neko's tastes are. It's no wonder she has such genius as a singer=songwriter--the two originals she revisits here, "Favorite" (see the must-have EP CANADIAN AMP) and the title cut of the essential BLACKLISTED resonate vividly (I can picture the audience just being mesmerized by Neko's voice and Jon Rauhouse's pedal steel guitar). Never one to forget her grandmother's roots, Neko with support from Jim and and Jennie and the Pinetops raises the roof with the gospel of "This Little Light of Mine". Yet that's not all! "Wayfaring Stranger" gets choral help from the ideaCity03--a Toronto audience!--that is one of the most sublime, fun moments of interaction I've ever heard. I'd love to see a DVD of Neko's shows come out, but in the meantime this live cd will suffice. If you're new to Neko, or curious as to why she has smitten fans like me all over the world, you ought to pick up this album and get ready for her next masterpiece, which is due in the spring. Do yourself a favor, put this tiger in your tank.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neko never disappoints....., November 13, 2004
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
I've seen quite a few reviews of Neko Case's latest offering, the live 'the tigers have spoken', and alot of them seem to be making the point that due to the high number of covers in the set, added with it being at least two years since her last studio release, the excellent 'Blacklisted', that it could be seen that 'tigers' is almost a bit of a cop out and stop gap to keep the fans happy until her next studio release due in spring 2005.

That could not be further from the truth.

'the tigers have spoken' is a rarity in the genre of live albums. In that rather than been given a 'greatest hits package, just played live', Neko gives us something that is new and fresh and engaging. Long time Neko fans have been dying to hear her backed by a full band (drummer complete!) live, the role admirably filled by toronto's finest, the sadies, as well regular sidekicks in crime, jon rauhouse, kelly hogan, and carolyn marks (corn sister extradonaire), not leaving out some newcomers, jim, jennie and the pinetops. As well as having her cover of the most brilliant 'hex' finally captured for repeated listings (a popular request ever since she performed it on austin city limits), and the traditional song 'little light of mine' that she has performed live in the past with both the sadies and one of her side projects, the corn sisters.

New songs 'if you only knew' and 'the tigers have spoken' are some of Neko's best work to date, the later showing an interesting and exciting more rockier edge than some of her past work, which fans of 'the new pornographers' would probably appreciate. But for newcomers, the beauty of Neko Case is that she never limits herself to just one thing or one style, illustrated in her choice of covers, ranging from the buffy sainte marie 'soulful shade of blue', to the garage punk of 'Loretta' and the bouncing pop of the shangala's 'train from kanas city'. Not to mention the hot smoking cover of Loretta Lynn's 'rated x'. Neko doesn't totally neglect her own fine body of work however, providing a haunting version of the title track of her last album, 'blacklisted', and probably the best version I've heard yet of one of her greatest songs that is not on one of her full length releases, 'favourite'.

If you are new to Neko Case, then take 'tigers' as a fantastic introduction to her world and an affirmation of why she is considered one of the finest singers in country music today (and I sure as hell aint talking about the crap that is coming out of Nashville that is being tried to be passed as 'country music'). For the already converted, then 'tigers' is an opportunity to have a permanent copy of those songs that we have heard live for the first time and fell in love with, as well as something to bring back some of the best memories we have gotten from seeing a great performer live.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Case for Neko, March 1, 2006
By 
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
My shelves are stuffed with CDs that never get played. This one gets played every few days, sometimes more than once. For me, that says a lot. I usually buy a couple of CDs a week, at least, and I just keep coming back to this one. It's concise, energetic, with twangy wall of sound arrangements. It rocks. It's one of those live albums where you can feel the energy from one end to the other. It reminds me of The Who's Live at Leeds (the original, rather than the reissued longer version) where every song counts and there's no filler.

Neko Case's singing is perfect for the material. She has a great voice and knows how to use it. I don't know how she does it, but it's almost unreal. She has a sweet voice, but not too sweet, more like ginger snaps than honey. There are few singers who do as well as her so consistently. The backup singers do a wonderful job, too. It sounds like they really have got the hang of it.

I'm not a fan of regular country music, but this is like punk country or something. They band seems to have taken the cool parts, and left the bogus parts outside the door. The playing is just right with a mix of electric, acoustic, steel guitars, banjo (but not too much banjo), and plenty of reverb. The rhythm section is good, too, anchoring the generally tight arrangements. There's no excess baggage here in the form of extended solos. There are solos, but they make their point and get out of the way. Eleven songs in about 38 minutes. The band doesn't waste your time.

No excess songs either. All are well chosen, and they all speak to matters of the heart and mind in some way, stuff like love, loss and death, songs of the spirit. Some are what I would call poetic, and some are more literal, some have a little bit of each. All of them are good songs, though. About the last two songs: they've been done a thousand times before. But, Neko and the band still do a decent job and make them listenable.

The sound is excellent. Not studio slick, but LIVE like you are there. The album art is interesting, with some cool drawings

I don't know if they play Neko's stuff on the radio or not, but somehow I doubt it. This CD just rocks too much to attract widespread attention. But this is the real deal, so do yourself a favor. Download the two free songs from this site. If you like them, be assured that these two are representative of the album as a whole.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Other Side of Neko, November 26, 2004
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
This is a very solid and appealing CD. I'm actually surprised to be writing that. Even though I am a big fan of Neko, my first time listening to Tigers left me a bit underwhelmed. It seemed like a wispy, if pleasant, good-natured, well-executed effort. At ten bucks, it was basically a morsel meant to keep those starving tigers in her audience at bay until spring when her next studio effort is released. I was going to leave it at that.

However, after a few listens the disc has moved steadily to the front of my CD changer. There is just something immensely... listenable about it. It is absolutely captivating how that voice anchors every song on this album, serving as foundation and superstructure supporting the instrumentation (from the Sadies) and often exquisite harmonizing (courtesy of her friends Kelly Hogan and Carolyn Mark). Even when she's basically singing background, as in the raucous version of "This Little Light of Mine," her voice provides a center around which everything else revolves. And she is pitch-perfect in her choices, letting her voice inhabit the songs rather than overwhelm them, only revealing that trademark wail at the right moments (near the end of "If you knew.."), and belting and lilting when appropriate. She and her colleagues are clearly having fun.

As for the "muddy sound" that some complain about, well I've seen her twice now in NYC and I can say that this album represents a pretty good facsimile of what you hear live, which is probably exactly the effect she was looking for. Neko is not keen on cleaning up the sound of her performances, preferring an organic quality of the live thing with all its warts and diamonds. It's impressive that some of these performances could pass for studio cuts were it not for the crowd noise. The real differences from the live experience is the banter, which is frequent and lively, and the fact that the entire range of her collaborators are never present at one concert. She will tour with the Sadies OR with Hogan and Mark OR solo with Rauhouse, Ray and assorted others. It's a real treat to hear them all together.

I see now that this CD serves a larger purpose too. It reveals a side (or rather several sides) of Neko that aren't as obvious in her studio efforts. Blacklisted virtually dripped with an aching (if abstract) sadness and dread. The contrast with her live presence, which is earthy, rambunctious, literate, self-deprecating and very funny, is so jolting that I have wondered if that album were merely an elaborate musical joke. This album has helped put that concern to rest. Neko picks songs that reflect her wide-ranging influences: pop, country, and folk. Even Velvet Underground-inspired punk makes an appearance (Loretta). While at first glance the collection seems random, each song has a similar plaintive strain, reflecting Neko's affinity for any part of american culture that gives voice to the struggles, fears, and hopes of the simple people in the street. It's that common strain which links this release with Furnaceroom Lullabye and Blacklisted. It also makes it clear that those albums represented just a small part of a very large musical ice-berg, most of which is yet to surface in the studio.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neko and the Sadies are on fire, December 6, 2004
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This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
As good as her noirish ballads are, I've always preferred the songs on which Neko Case just lets go and belts it out with all she's got, like "Bowling Green," "Misfire," and "Honky Tonk Hiccups" on "The Virginian," "Guided by Wire" on "Furnace Room Lullaby," and "Stinging Velvet" on "Blacklisted." So it's understandable that I love this live album, with its sizzling covers of the Nervous Eaters' "Loretta," Buffy Saint-Marie's "Soulful Shade of Blue," Loretta Lynn's "Rated X," plus the newly penned "If You Knew." All this in addition to the sultry waltz "Hex," among other slower tunes. (For my money, though, the standout track is her cover of the Shangri-Las' "Train from Kansas City," on which she positively channels Petula Clark and takes us back 40 years without missing a beat.)
And it's not just Neko. The Sadies turn in a virtuoso performance as her backing band (check out the snare on "Train" and the guitars on "Loretta"), and Kelly Hogan and Carolyn Mark on harmonies make what would have been great performances anyway simply sublime. I'd really love to hear a studio album from this lineup.
Yes, "The Tigers Have Spoken" is kind of short. Yes, it's covers-heavy. Yes, it's a little muddy. But these are such great performances it simply doesn't matter. This is truly one of those live albums that stands alongside, if not surpasses, the artist's studio work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her Best, April 16, 2006
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
Of all her albums (including Fox Confessor...), this is the best. First, it's staggering that her voice can be as amazing live as it is on the studio albums; really, it's something special. Second, her 'magnetism' comes out much more in the live recording than it does in the studio albums. When I listen to the studio albums I feel like something is missing; what is on this album is exactly what's missing. It's like the difference between a Grateful Dead live album versus a Grateful Dead studio album (well, maybe not that severe, but you get the point.)

I'd recommend buying this album before any of the others. Standout tracks include 'Train From Kansas City', 'Soulful Shade of Blue', 'If You Knew', and 'Rated X'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aching Beauty, January 8, 2006
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
Oh, man my heart cries out when I hear this, I normally don't listen to enough live albums, but thinking this was her new one I got it, and it's so good. Just Neko singing a combination of her and her favorites. And "Favorite" which is such a gorgeous melody of a song of hers. Her singing is so good I feel as though I'll listen to anything she does, it's the kind of lulluby stuff that makes you ache with contented desire. I can't really explain it. I couldn't get enough of Blacklisted and then this. This I listen to alot, I always love different songs at different times. I'll be seeing her play live for sure.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE TIGERS SPOKE TO ME, October 14, 2005
By 
Lee Lackey (Bennettsville, South Carolina United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
I had never heard of Neko Case until a few months back I heard her interviewed on NPR and they talked about the then new album The Tigers Have Spoken. She sounded like so interesting and the songs so haunting I bought the CD.

The only reason I did not give the album 4 stars was solely on technical grounds. This is a live indie album and the recordings a just not up to snuff. However, her performances are incredible. From the evocative Hex, to the rock-n-rolling Train From Kansas City, to the kick ass cover of Loretta Lynn's Rated-X this is a classic alt-country album.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of 2004's Very Best, February 20, 2005
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
Neko Case is a chameleon. One minute she's rocking hard with Canada's New Pornographers, the next she's sweetly crooning out in front of the Sadies or with her own Boyfriends. Now, to fill the gap between 2003's Blacklisted and 2005's new studio set, she releases this little stick of live dynamite. If just a tenth of the world's recording artists put out stopgap albums this good, radio would be a much happier place.

In ten years Neko Case has gone from fronting punk outfit Maow, to being one of America's most respected and exciting singer-songwriters - spanning half a dozen genres. Tigers finds her backed by the Sadies, with Jon Rauhouse, Kelly Hogan, Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops, Caroline Mark and others ably fattening up the sound. Rocked-up rockabilly, punked-out rockers, twangin' country, big, big ballads, gospel-folk - it's all here in thirty-four minutes that are every bit as satisfying as hundreds of album twice the length.

Recorded live in Chicago and Toronto during 2004, there are only two retreads - `Blacklisted' and `Favorite' - the rest are a mix of new numbers, (`If You Knew' and the title track - both stunning), and some truly sensational covers: a great version of the Shangri-Las' `Train From Kansas City'; Buffy Sainte-Marie's `Soulful Shade Of Blue'; and Loretta Lynn's `Rated X'. A spoken intro to the title track appears unlisted at the end, offering a darkly humorous wildlife welfare proposal.

Excellent, excellent, excellent.

Kim Porter

Forté Magazine, Australia
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, July 26, 2006
By 
This review is from: The Tigers Have Spoken (Audio CD)
Okay, so the last track is a little weird, maybe I just don't get it. But this really is a phenomenal CD by a woman to whom the Britney's, Christina's and other blonde bimbos could learn a thing or two. Suggest to anyone that's a fan of the Blues, Gospel, or just good rockin' music. Enjoy!
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The Tigers Have Spoken
The Tigers Have Spoken by Neko Case (Audio CD - 2004)
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