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Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Walt Whitman's Niece|
|2. California Stars|
|3. Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key|
|4. Birds And Ships|
|5. Hoodoo Voodoo|
|6. She Came Along To Me|
|7. At My Window Sad And Lonely|
|8. Ingrid Bergman|
|9. Christ For President|
|10. I Guess I Planted|
|11. One By One|
|12. Eisler On The Go|
|13. Hesitating Beauty|
|14. Another Man's Done Gone|
|15. The Unwelcome Guest|
When you first heard that Billy Bragg and Wilco were teaming up to set some Woody Guthrie lyrics to music, you knew it'd be an interesting project. But did anyone realistically think Mermaid Avenue would also wind up being one of 1998's finest albums? That's exactly what it is, a distinction it pulls off by simultaneously honouring Guthrie and blasting away any folksy expectations we might have of his music. Walking Guthrie's World War II-era lyrics into the 20th century's second, rock & roll half, Bragg and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy take turns on lead vocals, and the entire group collaborates on a sound that draws on folk- and country-rock, from Bob Dylan and the Band to Gram Parsons and Uncle Tupelo. The results are nearly flawless, ranging from yearning laments and playful children's rockers to horny ballads and brave protest songs that are not merely political but also profoundly moral. Like all of Guthrie's work, Mermaid Avenue is music to live better by. --David Cantwell
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Top Customer Reviews
I nearly wore this CD out when I bought it a few years ago. The album works so well as a whole: the songs are varied stylistically and the lyrics are simple yet mature. I've recently re-discovered it, and it sounds fresher than anything I've bought since. I find that the Wilco tracks tend to stand out more with time (probably due to the dual songwriting contributions of Jay Bennett and Jeff Tweedy -- two is better than one). They breathe with an easiness that tends to elude the more didactic Bragg.
One final note: Mermaid Avenue II is a worthwhile companion album. It may even be stronger in places, but be warned: it is not as consistently good.
"Mermaid Avenue" (15 tracks, 49 min.) is a true collaboration between the artists. Some songs find Wilco's Jeff Tweedy at lead vocal, Bragg on others. Music on some tracks is written by Bragg, others by Tweedy/Bennett, yet others by Bragg/Wilco. While I'm a huge Wilco fan, I must admit that the Bragg-written songs are more coherent within the Guthrie legacy. Check out for example the sparse "Eisler On the Go", and "Another Man's Done Done" (with Tweedy on lead vocal). The best is "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key" (with Natalie Merchant on back vocals). Natalie also sings lead on "Birds and Ships". (So you really shouldn't be surprised by Natalie's fab collection of folk tunes "The House Carpenter's Daugther", issued independently last year).
In all, this is a terrific collection, which deservedly received a second volume as well. Recommended for fans of Billy Bragg, Wilco, Woddy Guthrie, and of course Bob Dylan.
Before I bought this album, I was disgusted in the way music was becoming. I am 16 years old and I think I know more about music than anyone else at my high school, and I hate MTV, VH1, and the radio. This album blew me away with it's music. showing that you could have a 'Tribute/Unreleased' album and have so many different styles, some doubt Woody Guthrie would ever experiment with. The album starts off with, 'Walt Whitman's Niece', an upbeat, singable song with a light giddy field, It moves on to go into melowness('Birds and Ships' with the wonderfully talented singer Natalie Merchant), Jump Style('Hoodoo Voodoo') and other mellow and upbeat tracks.
This is an album for lovers of folk, rock, country, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, and Wilco. If you are one of the people above, pick this one up.
Most recent customer reviews
This cd at least makes me wonder how Woody would've done it. I think the vocals would be edgier, and clearer,easier to understand and remember, even after one listening, as I can... Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by .
. . . If you are a Wilco fan and you don't have this album (and Vol. II), you should feel very silly, and buy this right now. It is absolutely sublime.Published on May 3 2004 by TheKavorka
this is great music! i have always liked woody guthrie, and this album presents him as an intelligent writer. bragg and wilco did an oustanding job in bring his lyrics to life.Published on July 8 2003
This album can be sumed up in two words, pure beauty. With a colection of emotional tracks like "California Stars" and "Another Man's Done Gone" and then the... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2003
Recently, my local watering hole put this CD, which I had never heard, in their jukebox. I said "here goes" and selected the entire CD. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2002 by Babytoxie
Wilco fans may be tempted to pick up this disc after hearing the beautiful radio single "California Stars. Read morePublished on July 16 2002 by Steven R. Seim
Billy Bragg and Wilco have done an excellent job with this CD, and Natalie Merchant makes nice contributions as well. It is truly beautiful. Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2002 by Wyote
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